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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1189: VI International Conference on Landscape and Urban Horticulture

An analysis of bee communities in home and community gardens

Author:   G.A. Langellotto
Keywords:   United States, Apoidea, pollinator, species richness
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1189.98
Abstract:
Gardens have the potential to act as important habitat for urban bee communities, by provisioning forage and nesting sites. However, depending upon the plant palette and management practices used by gardeners, gardens also may act as an ecological filter (excluding specific taxa or functional groups). Data from studies of garden bee diversity in the United States were reviewed to better understand 1) the number and types of bee species that have been collected from gardens, and 2) the ecological characteristics of garden bees. Seven studies of bee communities were found in home or community gardens that both identified most bees to the species level and for which a non-garden comparison study in the same eco-region was available. A variety of natural history papers, journal articles and online databases were consulted to define the ecological characteristics, taxonomic family, origin (native or exotic), nest substrate, floral specificity, and sociality, of garden and non-garden bees. Across the seven garden studies, at least 213 bee species have been collected from home or community gardens. Gardens have fewer spring-flying bees and fewer soil nesters compared to non-garden sites. There are several potential explanations for this pattern including less availability of spring-blooming trees and other plants in gardens, and lack of nest site availability for soil-nesting bees.

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