Studying interactions between ground-nesting bees and soils

Image of tiny nest holes in soil.

(Phys.org) Researchers at Oregon State University are studying the interaction between the bees and soil in agricultural settings. The team looked at physical and chemical properties of soils collected from active bee and sand nest wasp sites in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. They compared soil properties among seven farm sites to identify similarities and differences. An interesting finding from the research is that the team found lipids in the soil nest linings. The lipids may provide a type of waterproofing for the nests and their inhabitants.

For bees and other wildlife, a stretch of sand is a land of plenty

Image of researcher with net standing in front of sand dune.

(Chesapeake Bay Program) Near a swampy forest littered with trash, two biologists went searching for insects. A chance of rain had dampened their morning prospects, but with the temperature climbing, the mild afternoon in March held the chance that their target species would be active: ground-nesting bees and tiger beetles. “Sand habitats are a cornerstone of where we go to look for rare things, but also should be the cornerstone of conservation.”

Prescribed burns benefit bees

Image of sweat bee on flowers.

(North Carolina State University) Freshly burned longleaf pine forests have more than double the total number of bees and bee species than similar forests that have not burned in over 50 years, according to new research. The study found that the low-intensity prescribed burns did not reduce the amount of nesting material for above-ground nesting pollinators, and the abundance of above-ground nesting pollinators was not impacted by the fires. Meanwhile, below-ground nesting species appeared to benefit from the increased access to bare soil.