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Common factors influence bee foraging in urban and wildland landscapes

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.

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Acknowledgments

Funding for this work was provided through the College of Natural Resources SPUR (Sponsored Undergraduate Research) Program and made the extensive city travel required for this project possible. We would like to extend special thanks and appreciation to Steven La, who worked extensively on this project with both data collection and data management. We would also like to thank Sean Fine, Melisa Lin, Jessica Dugan, and Yenny Martin for their assistance with data collection through the 2009 season. The staff at the GIF, in particular Jeremy Freund and Kevin Koy, were very helpful and provided assistance with spatial data management.

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Correspondence to Victoria A. Wojcik.

Appendices

Appendix 1

Table 4 A description of the variables used in model building and analysis, along with the descriptive statistics for each variable (n = 124 sites: urban = 103, wildland = 21)

Appendix 2

Table 5 The descriptive models of bee visitor abundance and community richness for urban (n = 103) and wildland (n = 21) landscapes resulting from stepwise backwards regression, retention α = 0.05; d.n.s. = data not sufficient to generate a significant model

Appendix 3

Table 6 The descriptive models of mean taxonomic occurrence in urban (n = 103) and wildland (n = 21) landscapes resulting from stepwise backwards regression, retention α = 0.05; d.n.s. = data not sufficient to generate a significant model

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Wojcik, V.A., McBride, J.R. Common factors influence bee foraging in urban and wildland landscapes. Urban Ecosyst 15, 581–598 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-011-0211-6

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Keywords

  • Bees
  • Pollinators
  • California poppy
  • Food resource usage
  • Foraging patterns
  • Wildland-urban landscape comparison