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Re: Ground nesting bees and mulch

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  • Jaime A. Florez
    Amy, One thing you should be aware is that black plastic will increase soil temperature incredibly. In fact, people use black plastic as a method of
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 8, 2013
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      Amy,
      One thing you should be aware is that black plastic will increase soil temperature incredibly. In fact, people use black plastic as a method of soil disinfection (it's a cheap method but I don't know how efficient it is but it totally work at some level). Also, I know that with only 5 minutes - maybe less - after putting the black plastic on the ground, assuming full sun (and surely also with some clouds shading), you will burn the vegetation below. I saw how a piece of black plastic left the grass below totally yellow in that short time and after (taking the plastic off) some days it turned brown (dry and dead). So I would say putting a black plastic can potentially affect bees nesting superficially in the ground. And for that kind of effects you could check:

      Cane & Neff. Predicted fates of ground-nesting bees in soil heated by wildfire: Thermal tolerances of life stages and a survey of nesting depths. Biological Conservation 144 (2011) 2631–2636.

      I hope that's useful; good luck!
       
      Jaime A. Florez
      PhD. student.
      Dept. Biology & Ecology Center
      Utah State University
      Logan, UT
    • Jack Neff
      Thick layers of newspaper, 4 of wood chips or plastic sheeting are all very unnatural ground covers so you shouldn t fool yourself as to whether or not they
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 9, 2013
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        Thick layers of newspaper, 4" of wood chips or plastic sheeting are all very unnatural ground covers so you shouldn't fool yourself as to whether or not they will have a negative affect on ground nesting bees  - they will.  However, bees don't need to nest adjacent to their floral hosts so if you have un-mulched areas somewhere in general vicinity all should be well.

        best

        Jack
         
        John L. Neff
        Central Texas Melittological Institute
        7307 Running Rope
        Austin,TX 78731 USA
        512-345-7219

        From: Julie Serences <jpserences@...>
        To: Amy Alesch <aalesch@...>
        Cc: Bee United <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, April 8, 2013 5:07 PM
        Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Ground nesting bees and mulch

         
        Try  UCB  Gordon Frankie's Web site for more info.

        At the California Native Plant Society  Elderberry Farms Demo Garden in Rancho Cordova, CA -   they weed first, plant  and then underlay with newspapers and cover with a 4 inch coarse wood chip mulch.

        You get weed protection for the first year or so and with continued spot  weeding the natives take over. Newspapers decompose fairly rapidly.  I have observed native bees using paths to the soil underneath the mulch during the second season.  Weeding close  to the plants for a couple of years also leaves a weed seed free zone for ground  nesting bees that can be left undisturbed once the plants are established.



        Cheers,

        Julie Serences
        Audubon  at Home Coordinator, Sacramento Audubon Society
        Xerces Partner in Pollinator Conservation
        Board Member Sacramento Valley CNPS

        916-548-0618
         
        Bees are not optional


        On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 8:15 AM, Amy Alesch <aalesch@...> wrote:
         
        Hi, everyone-

        In the case of establishing native prairie plants sometimes it's necessary to mulch (we used black plastic mulch for our study) to keep weed pressure from the establishing perennial plants (transplants, in our case). I was wondering if any of the group knows if there is any research on if or how mulching may affect groundnesting bee populations in the area...or anything in a similar vein of study.

        Thank you!

        Amy



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