, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 581-598
Date: 15 Sep 2011

Common factors influence bee foraging in urban and wildland landscapes

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Abstract

Bees are important flower-visiting insects that display differential occurrences at food resources throughout urban and wildland landscapes. This study examined the visitation rates and foraging patterns of eight taxonomic groups of bees that are common to California poppies, Eschscholzia californica, in both landscape types. Bee occurrence was documented in relation to floral resource characteristics (patch area, poppy coverage, and poppy density), local landscape characteristics (distance to the wildland-urban interface, distance to riparian areas, distance to green space, and land use), and regional landscape context (urban versus wildland). Similar abundance and richness measures were recorded at both urban and wildland poppy patches, but community composition varied in each landscape. Bumble bees were more abundant at poppies in the wildland whereas species in the family Halictidae (sweat bees) were more abundant at poppies within the urban landscape. Resource patch size and density consistently correlated with increased bee presence for all bee types foraging in the wildland. Individual patterns of occurrence in the urban landscape were somewhat divergent; the foraging dynamics of larger bodied-bees (Bombus vosnesenskii and Megachile species) correlated significantly with resource patch size and density, whereas smaller-bodied bees (family Halictidae and Andrena species) were influenced by landscape characteristics such as distance to the wildland-urban interface and distance to riparian areas. In summary, the surrounding landscape had an influence on community composition, but the magnitude of the floral resource present at a site and factors relating to foraging energetics were dominant drivers of local occurrence. These results suggest that management strategies that provide dense and abundant floral resources should be successful in attracting bees, irrespective of their location within the urban matrix.