RE: [beemonitoring] roads and bees
Gidi- I agree with much of what Harold has written about roads and bees. Alfalfa seed growers who pollinate using the native ground-nesting Nomia melanderi are concerned enough with traffic kills of their bees nesting near roads that they have put speed signs around their valley.
James H. Cane
USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Lab
Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322 USA
tel: 435-797-3879 FAX: 435-797-0461
web pages: www.ars.usda.gov/npa/beelab
" Always do whatever's next."
- Harold wrote
>As to the 'Narrow'; rarely used or 'dirt roads' = They can beThis is definitely true, in both temperate and tropical areas; lots
>excellent nesting sites.
of bees and wasps like bare well-packed soil for nest sites. Unpaved
dirt roads are generally great for bees. But gravel roads are awful.
Surprisingly, asphalt roads can be a positive influence: in the local
deserts, the extra moisture resulting from road-surface spillover
creates a narrow zone of plants that are greener and more often in
bloom than those even a meter from the road edge. The actual
floristic composition of this narrow zone can be dramatically
different from all of the surrounding habitat - it's always
surprising to see how big a difference that little extra moisture can
Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
- I've seen road-killed bumble bees not infrequently. Some on my
windshield, some on the road.
At 12:49 PM 5/4/2009, you wrote:
>Hello everyone. I am looking for information on the effects of roads
>on bee movement. Exhaustive searches in "Google Scholar" and "Web of
>Science" yielded only one relevant article (and a few dealing with
>beetles rather than bees). The rumor says that roads tend to form a
>barrier to bee movement. Is this true? Is it a complete or only
>partial barrier? Are all bee taxa similarly affected? Is the effect
>caused by the asphalt cover, the rapid movement of vehicles, the
>chemicals emitted by the vehicles, etc.? Would a narrow road, rarely
>driven through and surrounded by natural vegetation, cause the same
>effect as a busy highway (I guess not...)?
>I would appreciate if you could recommend any relevant literature
>and/or share your own experience and knowledge.
>Thank you in advance,
- Hi Gidi,
Jennifer Hopwood published a paper last year that may interest you. She looked at bee diversity in restored grasslands on road edges and found that "Traffic and width of roadside did not significantly influence bees, suggesting that even relatively narrow verges near heavy traffic could provide valuable habitat to bees."
Hopwood, J.L. 2008. The contribution of roadside grassland restorations to native bee conservation. Biological Conservation 141: 2632-2640.
Here is the abstract:
Marginal habitats such as hedgerows or roadsides become especially important for the conservation of biodiversity in highly modified landscapes. With concerns of a global pollination crisis, there is a need for improving pollinator habitat. Roadsides restored to native prairie vegetation may provide valuable habitat to bees, the most important group of pollinators. Such roadsides support a variety of pollen and nectar sources and unlike agricultural fields, are unplowed, and therefore can provide potential nesting sites for groundnesting bees. To examine potential effects of roadside restoration, bee communities were sampled via aerial netting and pan trapping along roadside prairie restorations as well as roadsides dominated by non-native plants. Management of roadside vegetation via the planting of native species profoundly affected bee communities. Restored roadsides supported significantly greater bee abundances as well as higher species richness compared to weedy roadsides. Floral species richness, floral abundance, and percentage of bare ground were the factors that led to greater bee abundance and bee species richness along restored roadsides. Traffic and width of roadside did not significantly influence bees, suggesting that even relatively narrow verges near heavy traffic could provide valuable habitat to bees. Restored and weedy roadside bee communities were similar to the prairie remnant, but the prairie remnant was more similar in bee richness and abundance to restored roadsides. Restoring additional roadsides to native vegetation could benefit pollinator conservation efforts by improving habitat on the millions of acres of land devoted to roadsides worldwide, land that is already set aside from further development.
Also, my coworker (Matthew Shepherd) said that Patty Cramer with the USGS Utah Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit has been collecting information on how roads impact wildlife: www.wildlifeandroads.org
Best of luck,
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Hello everyone. I am looking for information on the effects of roads on bee movement. Exhaustive searches in "Google Scholar" and "Web of Science" yielded only one relevant article (and a few dealing with beetles rather than bees). The rumor says that roads tend to form a barrier to bee movement. Is this true? Is it a complete or only partial barrier? Are all bee taxa similarly affected? Is the effect caused by the asphalt cover, the rapid movement of vehicles, the chemicals emitted by the vehicles, etc.? Would a narrow road, rarely driven through and surrounded by natural vegetation, cause the same effect as a busy highway (I guess not...)?
I would appreciate if you could recommend any relevant literature and/or share your own experience and knowledge.
Thank you in advance,
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