Bark beetle outbreaks benefit wild bee populations, habitat

Image of spruce forest damaged by bark beetles.

(Colorado State University) When southern Rocky Mountain forests are viewed from a distance these days, it may not look like much is left. Large swaths of dead, standing Engelmann spruce trees tell the tale of a severe regional spruce beetle epidemic in its waning stages. But new research suggests that spruce beetle outbreaks may help create habitat for pollinator communities in wilderness settings. The research team found significant increases in floral abundance and wild bee diversity in outbreak-affected forests, compared to similar, undisturbed forest.

Underutilized baseball diamond serves as foundation for endangered bee habitat

Image of man sitting on bench near field.

( Ross Smith earned his master’s degree in recreation, park and tourism administration in 2018. For his final project, Smith transformed two underutilized baseball diamonds in Hampton into a prairie area for Rock Island County Forest Preserve District. The Illiniwek Forest Preserve Project was created through this process and, in mid-August, the site became one of just a few nationwide to boast sightings of the endangered rusty patched bumble bee.

Agreement reached to protect endangered rusty patched bumble bee at Minnetonka’s Lone Lake Park

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on white flowers.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity and the city of Minnetonka have reached an agreement to protect the endangered rusty patched bumble bee at Lone Lake Park, the site of a planned multi-use mountain-bike trail. Under the agreement, the city will implement numerous conservation measures, including creation of habitat for the bees and other pollinators.

WSUV to replace lawn with wildflower meadow to promote pollinators

Image of students overlooking large field.

(The Columbian) People are few and far between on the Washington State University Vancouver campus these days, but a trio of graduate biology students intend to start filling the landscape with native wildflowers and the pollinators that love them. Their goal is to achieve the Bee Campus USA designation for WSUV’s 351-acre spread from the Xerces Society.

Agency denies critical habitat for endangered rusty patched bumble bee

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on flower.

(AP) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would not designate critical habitat for the first bee species in the continental U.S. to be listed as endangered, a move that environmentalists said would worsen its chances for recovery. The agency said it had determined the rusty patched bumble bee could survive without having specific areas managed for its protection, even though its population has plummeted 90% in the past couple of decades.