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.

7-22 Monarda w bee 3

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.

Nachusa Grassland, photo from We Are Sauk Prairie.

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.

DSC_0488 bumblebee butterflyweed

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.


16 Comments on “Study Gives Reason To Bee Hopeful”

  1. I wonder if anyone but me gets upset that with deer eating all the flowers in the garden, it leaves little for the bees. I must say this has been a banner years for bees here. There are so many different ones I never knew existed before.

  2. Yay! What a great way to start the month of September. So enjoyed that bee video. Also, your post so beautifully illustrates that many problems can be faced and solved. Not all, I know, but neither do we have to throw our hands up in the air and say, “I give up.” Onward and upwards!

  3. Well that’s hopeful. We just have to make sure there’s still somewhere left for the bees to come from. I’m lucky to have some wilder fringes around the yard but when I look around the neighborhood it’s awfully well groomed and sterile.

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