Study Gives Reason To Bee Hopeful
A new study demonstrates that prairie restoration brings back the bees, both in numbers and species diversity. Here’s an article about it from the website of the Nature Conservancy. Unfortunately, the study itself is behind a pay wall, but you can read the article here.
The study was conducted at the Nachusa Grasslands, a 3,600-acre prairie restoration about a two hours drive from Chicago. The land is owned and managed the The Nature Conservancy. I haven’t been there yet, but it’s on my bucket list.
Prairie restoration efforts rest on the assumption that the restored natural areas will bring an enriched diversity of animal life. We pretty much know this to be true of birds and mammals, now we have good evidence that the same is true for bees. And the longer the restoration has been around the greater the improvements in the bee population.
Smaller-scale gardens for pollinators have the same goal in relation to bees as large prairie restorations. It seems that this study makes it more likely that such efforts can also bear fruit, or bees. (Can you bear bees? Well, you know what I mean.) Someone out there probably knows if the efficacy of small pollinator gardens has been studied. If not, that would be useful research for gardeners.
And here’s an unrelated but interesting bit of information: Nachusa grasslands has not just bees, but also buffalo – though the buffalo are on a separate 1,500 acre area not open to visitors. They can be viewed only from afar, which is just as well.
Anyhow, in honor of Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar and Sean Griffin, the authors of the bee study, here’s a short video of bees buzzing around some Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) in our garden that Judy took a couple of years ago. You can almost see them sticking their tongues into the flowers.
That’s all for now.