One area of research here in the Gratton Lab is native pollinators (bees in particular) and their pollination services. Please also see our new portal for pollinator related research and resources, including our new Solar-friendly pollinator guidelines, and Wisconsin bumble bee site.
Wisconsin Pollinators (pollinators.wisc.edu)
Wisconsin Bumble Bees (wisconsinbumblebees.entomology.wisc.edu)
Other Wisconsin-specific pollinator conservation information
State of Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Plan. Spring 2016. This is a great resource with the most up-to-date science on what homeowners, farmers, and beekeepers can do to improve bee health in our landscapes. This was a collaborative effort lead by DATCP (Liz Meils and Mike Murray) and us here at UW (Christina Locke and Claudio Gratton), with significant input from diverse stakeholder groups from throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Wild pollinators in Wisconsin apple orchards. July 2017. This is a brochure from our lab giving an overview of the wild bee pollinators found in apple orchards with guidelines on how to conserve them.
Wisconsin Monarch Conservation Partnership. A statewide consortium of organizations dedicated to conserving the monarch butterfly. (launched 2018)
Wisocnsin Bumble Bee Brigade. Citizen-science monitoring project for Wisconsin bumble bees (launched 2018)
The basics: Bees need three things to survive: food, shelter, and protection from pesticides.
The resources listed below provide detailed information for how you can provide these resources whether you are a farmer, gardener, or homeowner.
Your go-to source for pollinator conservation in North America is the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Their Pollinator Conservation Resource Center website provides region specific plant lists and conservation strategies. Below are several specific publications they have produced that you may find useful.
- Mader, E., Shepherd, M., Vaughan, M., Black, S.H., LeBuhn, G. (2011) Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies. Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA. 372 pages.
A beautiful new book from the folks at Xerces. This book covers everything from the importance of pollinators to what you can do to provide resources for them. Great for all audiences.
- Vaughan, M., Shepherd, M., Kremen, C., Black, S.H. (2004) Farming for Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Portland, OR. 43 pages. URL: http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/farming_for_bees_guidelines_xerces_society.pdf
A great booklet describing what actions farmers can take to protect bees on their farm.
- USDA NRCS (2008) Technical Note No. 78: Using Farm Bill Programs for Pollinator Conservation. URL: http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/using-farmbill-programs-for-pollinator-conservation.pdf
A detailed document listing the relevant USDA sponsored programs for pollinator conservation.
Bees in urban areas
- From MSU Extension, How to protect bees and pollinators in Urban areas
- Logan Bee Lab (http://www.loganbeelab.usu.edu)
Biology, management, and systematics of bee pollinators.
- Penn State Center for Pollinator Research (http://ento.psu.edu/pollinators)
Penn State has become the center of honey bee health research in the last several years. This site provides information about the research they are doing to understand what is harming the honey bees.
- Bumble Bee Watch, Xerces Society (http://www.bumblebeewatch.org/)
- BeeSpotter at the University of Illinois (http://beespotter.org/)
- The Great Sunflower Project (http://www.greatsunflower.org/)
A national citizen science project started at San Francisco State University in 2008. The goal is to gather information about pollinators in urban, suburban, and rural parts of the country. Participants from across the United States observe bees in their backyards and gardens and submit their data to the project.
Bee and Insect Identification
- Spring Wild Bees of Wisconsin (http://energy.wisc.edu/bee-guide/)
A recent guide to native bees found in Wisconsin in the springtime created by lab member Rachel Mallinger.
- Bug Guide (www.bugguide.net)
This website has detailed photos and information about just about every kind of insect you can find. You can also upload your own photos for identification by an expert.
- Discover Life (www.discoverlife.org)
Photos and information about insects.
- UW’s Quick Bee Id cheat sheet
Other Web Resources
- The Pollinator Partnership (http://www.pollinator.org/)
- Project Apis m. (http://projectapism.org/)
- The Bee Informed Partnership (http://beeinformed.org/)