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Re: Ascher and the BeeMonitoring List

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  • Thomas of Baltimore
    Sam: Of course, this conflict of interests points to more than mere descriptions of message board forums. As I told John, I am a beemonitor who lives in
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 27, 2006
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      Of course, this "conflict of interests" points to more than mere descriptions of message board forums. 
      As I told John, I am a "beemonitor" who lives in Baltimore City.  And, as you well know, it is impossible to discuss bees without discussing flowers.  And, in the urban environment context it is impossible to discuss flowers without confronting "non-native" plant species.  
      Therefore what John characterized as my "too numerous posts" to the forum involve exploring the topic of the relationship between bees and non-native flowers in the urban ecosystem. 
      And, I went on to argue that [a]ny discussion of the ecology of the city, and the ecology of bees in the city, will necessarily include socio-political discussion.  It is unavoidable.  
      As an amateur urban naturalist I am particularly interested in the whole notion of introduced species which is why I mentioned it on the message board.  But let's not let any disagreement on that topic overshadow what we do agree on -- our love of bees.
      To me, bee monitoring is inherently socio-political because it is part environmental advocacy and part citizen science.  And to truly make any sense of bees in the urban context requires exploration and examination from every angel and of every subject or topic.  
      If you intend to bring involve the public in beemonitoring activities then I can assure you can expect that there will be as many different perspectives to accomodate as there are goals and objectives to consider.
      I posted my bee survey photos to the yahoo group to [a] establish the legitimicy of my interest in the subject, and [b] to illustrate the importance of non-native flowers to my local native bee fauna by showing the specimen in situ with its pollen source. 
      As a simple analysis I reviewed each specimen in my bee gallery and tallied each occurance of a non-native/native flowers.  Of those with bee on flower 23 are introduced species (11 garden specimens and 12 weeds), while only 9 are "native".
      As with the Ptilothrix-Rose Of Sharon relationship, these numbers suggests that the my local bee fauna depend in large measure on the the presence of the non-native flora for their continued existence in this area. 
      Which brings me to some criticisms of your decision to exclusively use pitfall traps in your upcoming bee monitoring project:
      1.  Pitfall traps cannot tell you anything about which plants the collected bees depend on. (This limits collecting data that would help establish how important introduced plant species are to bees in other areas.)
      2. Photodocumentation and pan traps each have limitations and opportunities which if brought together will ensure accurate depictions of local bee fauna. 
      3.  According to James Cane, "samples from guilds typically contain fewer instances of difficult congenerics that need to be distinguished, as well as more cases in which a genus is represented by a single species in a given guild."  
      4. Further along he adds, "Pan traps ... preferentially catch small-bodied bees, especially sweat bees, and miss many bee taxa altogether (J. H. Cane, unpublished manuscript; T. L. Griswold, unpublished manuscript )."
       What do you think?
      Warmly, Thomas of Baltimore City
      On Bugguide you ID'd one of my specimens -- Ptilothrix bombiformis:
      I observed the specimen in the park near my house.  The area is a former trash dump.  Sam Droege mentioned this species is a Hibiscus specialist so it is likely that this species is using the introduced Rose-of-Sharon which I have observed growing nearby.
      As I have not recorded any native hibiscus in the area, the continued presence of my local population is dependent in large part on the Rose-Of-Sharon.

      On 12/27/06, Sam Droege <sdroege@...> wrote:


      Ah, I will have to look at what I wrote!



      "Thomas of Baltimore" <photosbythom@... >

      12/27/2006 12:31 PM

      "Sam Droege" <sdroege@...>
      Re: Ascher and the BeeMonitoring List


      Yes, John and I are cool again.  I've learned that it is best to provide data when speaking to scientists so my bee gallery was just the medicine needed.

      Not to split hairs here but the "Beemonitoring" yahoo group description suggests that the group is interesred in more than you are suggesting here.  Perhaps a revision is called for.


      On 12/27/06, Sam Droege < sdroege@... > wrote:

      Hi Thom:

      John is a good guy, but can be so direct as to be impolitic, but it sounds like you guys are working that out.  John does have a point, however, which is that in general it is better to take conversations with specific people about specific topics off the listserve and email their personal accounts.  The bee monitoring list is largely specific to issues of surveys and is very low volume most of the time.  The entomology list entomol-l is a better place for general questions and has a much bigger audience to boot.


      Sam Droege  
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705


      There was a man who loved bees.
      He always was their friend.
      He used to sit upon their hive.
      But they stung him, in the end.
       -  Nick Wallingford

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