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Beescape Monthly Update for May: What Do Bees Need in Urban Areas?

Posted: May 1, 2020

This is another entry in our monthly updates from us here at Beescape! As always, we will use this newsletter to share Beescape updates, interesting study results, and other relevant information related to Beescape and associated projects!

Greetings from the Beescape Team!

An important new study by Doug Sponsler and colleagues was published recently in Ecosphere! In this paper, scientists monitored honey bee colonies located within highly urbanized landscapes in southeastern Pennsylvania. By combining weight data with data on pollen species composition, the scientists demonstrated that these urban bees saw big nectar flows in May, June, and September with a pronounced dearth in summer when bees apparently had little forage available. Spring bees fed heavily on trees and shrubs (e.g., hawthorne) whereas summer bees relied more heavily on herbaceous ‘weeds’ like clover. During fall, bees relied largely on perennial vines like English ivy and virgin’s bower. A great summary of the new study can be found at Penn State News. What plants do you think are important to urban honey bees in your area?

Finally, we would be remiss if we did not provide another reminder about the Fall/Spring survival survey from 2019/2020 - if you have not already filled out your Fall survival survey, there is still time! In fact, you can complete your Fall survey at any point before you complete your spring (2020) survey. By contributing fall (and spring) survival data through Beescape, the Beescape Team can better predict the landscape factors (including weather and climate) associated with metrics of bee health like overwinter survival and nectar flows! We need BOTH Fall and Spring surveys for each apiary to make use of the data -- one without the other cannot be added to our models. We are excited to use your data to make better tools (like our new Bee Winter Wise tool) to predict honey bee health dynamics!

As always, feel free to contact us at with any questions, comments or concerns -- including assistance with filling out your Beescape surveys. We always love hearing from you.

Sincerely,

The Beescape Team