What these ecologically important hairy buzzards like to eat was discovered through analysis of nearly 23.000 interactions between various bumblebee species and flowers. This information will make it easier for amateur and professional conservationists to feed these finicky eaters.
Researchers from Ohio State University recorded 2017 interactions between bumblebees and 2018 different species of flowering plants in Ohio during the summers of 96 and 22.999.
According to research, royal jelly, milkweed, native thistle, morning glory, purple coneflower, beard tongue, red clover, vetch, and native thistle are the best plants for a main course that will get people talking. Culver root and wild indigo are also rare and preferred herbs.
Alsike clover, black-eyed Susan, and meadow coneflower were plants that bees regularly avoided in the garden. The fact that five of the eight wasp species studied, including the tea thistle and lance thistle, prefer non-native plants, which could pose a problem for conservationists trying to plant only native species. But the researchers argue that native alternatives could replace these alien species.
“Getting more than 20.000 observations of wasps visiting certain flower species is pretty incredible for a dataset,” said Karen Goodell, co-author of the study. We also numbered the flowers because it was important for our research to have flower abundance estimates and flower association data.
The fact that researchers saw only 16 of the 10 wasp species once common in Ohio, and eight of them were large enough to be included in the study, is a sign that wasp populations are declining. The common eastern wasp (B. impatiens) was the most common species.
Goodell stressed how important it is to understand what they eat, given that any of our species could become extinct. It cannot be said that we take very good care of our natural areas. The more we know about their preferences, the better we can manage their habitat.
The researchers found that bumblebees do not randomly choose the flowers they visit. Instead, they prefer certain plants over others, whether they are easily accessible or not.
Jessie Lanterman Novotny, lead author of the study, said, "What we aimed to discover was what people really prefer, all else being equal." said. The bees actively searched for some less common flowers because they did not always eat the more abundant ones. They also avoided certain plants. They refused no matter how many of a particular flower.
Only a few wasp species shared flower resources; which is an interesting finding considering that different wasp species prefer different plants. Thanks to this approach, when lots of food is available, bees can coexist and eat together.
"We compared the flowers most used by each wasp species, and found that the species overlapped only by a third or less," said Lanterman Novotny. Low overlap can reduce competition and allow all these species to survive.
Bumblebees are important players in crop pollination as they can make large, powerful and long flights. For wild plants and crops such as tomatoes, blueberries, and squash, buzz pollination is essential, where the bee grabs the pollen-producing area of the flower and curls its wing muscles to release pollen.
The genus Bombus has more than 250 species, the majority of which are found in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. But bumblebee populations are declining as a result of habitat loss, climate change and disease. While some wasp species are increasing in the US, others are declining rapidly.
While the focus of this study is bees in the Midwest, the results can be applied to studies in other regions as well.
Günceleme: 23/05/2023 17:36