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Assessing the impacts of urban beehives on wild bees using individual, community, and population-level metrics

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Several species of wild bees are in decline globally and the presence of managed honey bees is one of many proposed stressors on wild bee populations. However, there is limited knowledge of the impacts of honey bee hives on wild bees, especially in urban landscapes. We performed a field study to assess the associations between honey bees and wild bees within the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada. We measured relative abundance of honey bees, wild bee metrics (abundance, community composition, functional diversity, and body size), and floral resources (floral density and richness); we also calculated impervious surface at 500 m and 1 km for each of our sites. Our main findings were that increasing honey bee abundance was correlated with decreases in wild bee species richness and functional diversity, as well as two wild bee species’ abundances and one wild bee species body size, out of many assessed. This research adds to the growing body of literature aiming to evaluate whether honey bees are a stressor on wild bees in urban landscapes, which will be valuable for informing conservation management practices and future research.

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Correspondence to Sarah MacKell.

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MacKell, S., Elsayed, H. & Colla, S. Assessing the impacts of urban beehives on wild bees using individual, community, and population-level metrics. Urban Ecosyst 26, 1209–1223 (2023).

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