Wild Bees with Kelsey Graham

May 8, 2020

MSU Extension Cabin Fever Conversations featuring Wild Bees with Kelsey Graham. 

Cabin Fever Conversations help connect you to your garden and fellow gardeners, even when we are stuck inside during the long Michigan winters. Each weekly session featured a conversation to help get your mind outside and into the garden, highlighting the passion and wisdom of featured speakers.

More resources and recordings to other sessions are available on the Cabin Fever Conversations website.

Video Transcript

Today on Cabin Fever Conversations we are going to be talking about wild bees. My name is Abby Harper, I'm one of your co-host community food systems educator with MSU Extension And myself along with my co-host Isabel Branstrom are going to be leading this conversation. Yeah, so I'm Isabel and like Abby said, I am a Consumer Horticulture Educator for Ingham County. And today we have Kelsey Graham joining us and she is a researcher in the MSU Entomology Department and she studies bees. So Kelsey, we're super excited to have you here today. I just want to start off by asking you what got you interested in bees? [Kelsey] Yeah, so I actually, I don't have the kind of classic story of always being kind of interested in insects growing up. I really wasn't. I didn't really think about insects that much until I got to grad school and I went to a lab that was really interested in animal behavior and conservation. And that's really where my interests were. And then my advisor introduced me to bees and I was hooked pretty quick. They're really fun to watch. And that's really kind of just going out and watching bees. They have really cool behaviors and then I kind of spiraled into just liking all bees. Watching and seeing all the huge diversity of bees that we have and all the different behaviors. And that even grew into a general appreciation for insects and overall. So, so yeah, I mean, it didn't really didn't start kind of until later in life. So, so there's still time, if you don't like bees yet! [Isabel] This sounds like once it started to just kinda went, whoa, did it. [Abby] So a couple of weeks ago, if ya'll joined us, we had on a hack from MSU, Department of Entomology talking to us about managed honeybees, can you explain to the audience the difference between the managed honeybees that we already learned about what you study? [Kelsey] So I'm going to use some slides to kind of help the conversation [Isabel] We like the imagery. It kinda puts a picture to the words. [Kelsey] So everybody see that? Yes. Okay. Awesome. Yeah. So as you went from last week, i mean, she she's awesome. She's like an expert with honeybees, and I am not. But so honeybees, they live in large colonies. They can have, you know, over 20 thousand individuals per colony. And you have your distinct divisions of labor. They produce and store honey, which allows us to go in and take honey from them. And that's really unique in terms of bees. So most bees do not live in these huge colonies. But because honeybees do. And because we learned how to manage them and put them in these man-made boxes, they are really great for agricultural pollination. So we actually don't have any native, native honeybees here in North America. We brought them over from Europe, and now they're heavily managed and really important for agricultural pollination. So, so that's honeybees. And we do have some concerns about honeybees. So it can be a lot harder to manage them. I'm sure Ana maybe touched on this last week, but there's kind of some primary concerns that we're concerned about with honey needs, like poor nutrition. So if we move them in agricultural environments where there's not a lot of food for them. And that's flowers that can be really tough on them. Think about it if you're starving And then you have other things like pests and pathogens or pesticides. That can be a lot harder for them to combat diseases if they don't have the nutrition. So these are kind of the main drivers of what's making it harder to manage honey bees right now. It's taking beekeepers lot more effort to keep them healthy and able to go into these fields and pollinate crops. But I think it's really important to point out that, honeybees are not going extinct. So this is kind of something that gets really confused, especially in the media, about whether or not honeybees should be kind of a conservation concern in North America. And they really, they really don't need to be a conservation concern because they're not a native species. North America, and while it is becoming a lot harder to manage honeybees, and we need to make sure that we're supporting our commercial beekeepers so that they can keep managing honey bees for pollination. It's not necessarily a species that we need to have conservation effort towards. Yes, so this is a kind of a common question that I get from people when I say that I work on bee conservation. People are concerned about honeybees and so they want to know what they can do to help them. And so often the question, I get is Should I become a backyard beekeeper?" Which kinda makes sense. You know, you want to support the honeybee industry. So is this one way that I do that? What I usually try to tell them is that that's basically like saying I'm gonna get some chickens because I'm really concerned about wild birds. So will be having this really managed agricultural species in your backyard. And that's not really going to help the wild bee populations. So, so generally I say, you know, if, if your reasonings for why you want to have honeybees are that you want a conservation purpose. You want to help protect our bee populations. I would say don't become a backyard beekeeper. If you're I have other reasons to do it that's great, like education. Or maybe you want to have a honey business now as they talk to on a, learn about how to do that properly. But if your reasons are for conservation reasons I would say there's lots of other ways support our native bee populations. [Isabel] And we are for audience members who are interested, we are going to get into those. [Kelsey] Perfect. And so, yeah, so my research really is focused on wild bees. And some of our wild bees are going extinct or have already disappeared from Michigan, or nationwide. So it's the wild bees do need conservation action. And this is really where I'm going to kind of focus on the rest of my talk. And that's really where, where my research lies. [Isabel] Kelsey, I have a question. So why do you think native bees are important? Or wild bees? Oh yes. [Kelsey] So that's, I will probably get into that a little bit more by, yeah, wild bees are super important both for crop pollination. Honeybees do kind of mass majority of crop pollination, but wild bees, for sure are really important for that as well. And so I worked primarily in high bush blueberry and we generally associate pollination for wild bees maybe ten to even 80% of the pollination services that are going towards these crops. So, so wild bees are super important for crop pollination. That also really important for just pollinating all the other plant species we have outside, right? So all these native wild plants that we have growing throughout the state, wild bees are really the ones that are pointing these, these wild plants. So, so we need wild bees and they and their services really can't be replaced. Honeybees? Yeah. [Isabel} They're also adorable. Very adorable. Yeah. Yeah. And I just got the pictures though. Okay. The one on the previous slide with the mustache I just get so excited. So as you can see, my enthusiasm continues to grow for bees is because, look at them! there are so many different kinds. [Kelsey] We have 20 thousand bee species worldwide. [Kelsey] [Kelsey] [Kelsey] [Kelsey] And just in Michigan we have over 450 bee species, so that's a lot of bees and they're all different. They come in all different shapes and sizes and colors. We have really big bees that are a lot bigger than honey bees, like carpenter bees. These are like those bees that you might see drilling into the side of your house or into a barn or your deck, which some people, you know, they're a pest species, but they don't do too much harm. And they are really charismatic and fun to watch. [Abby] Kelsey, could you share the names of a couple bees like a couple of the wild these folks may see in Michigan, just to give some kind of context? Absolutely. [Kelsey] So for ones that you might see in bee hotels, which I will touch on moire later, are like leaf cutter bees or mason bee. Those are the primary ones that you're going to see in there. And then we have bumblebees. Which of those kind of big fuzzy circled and yes, at the bumblebee. And it sounds really big bees you see kind of bumbling around your yard. And those ones are generally nesting in the ground. And there are also social. So they're not, they're similar to honeybees, but on a smaller scale, maybe two hundred, three hundred individuals. And they're only annual, so they'll start a new colony every spring. But then you also see the light green bees around, or sometimes they're called sweat bees. And then a lot of other of the smaller bees are considered sweat bees. And then yeah, we have small carpenter bees, large carpet movies. Yet tons tons of different bees. I cant name a lot, but yeah. And so a lot of them are no bigger than a grain of rice. So I always tell people that, you know, take a minute and kind of look at a flower for awhile because you're gonna start noticing is really teeny tiny bees coming and visiting. And then they have all different kinds of behaviors and lifestyles. So this is the mason bee systems like the one I was just talking about that you'll often see in your bee hotels if you have one. Most bees are solidarity. So they just create a nest, lay some eggs and then leave. So there's no care of the young like in social species like honeybees. And then most of our bees actually live underground. And I often get people saying, "Oh I hate ground nesting bees, I get sung by them all the time." But remember that most are actually solitary. And solitary bees have no reason to sting you because they have nothing to defend. So usually when people are getting stung by things in the ground, it's usually yellow jackets. So these are a social wasp that often is nesting in the ground around here. So, so don't necessarily blame the bees is if you're getting stung or annoyed by things nesting in the ground. And I've got some videos. So this is a research project I did a couple of years ago looking at nesting of stem nesting bees in agricultural landscapes. So this is primarily a leaf cutter bees that are making their homes in here. And you can see they mash up leaves and use those to make their nests. And see that how leaf material, that's that green material that you're seeing at the end of the tube. So they really active and really fun to watch [Isabel} It is so cute when you see them disappear! It's great. [Kelsey] So they're super, super fun to watch. I really, I really enjoyed them a lot. And so I did buy, I touch on be hotels because this is something that's growing in popularity. I just saw a bunch for sale, at Meijer right now. And really, you know, a nice educational resource. So it's great to just put them up and watch bees. Learn more about solitary bee behavior. They aren't necessarily something that we think of for conservation reasons. So usually the species that you're going to get the hotels are quite common and not ones that we have any sort of conservation concern about. I always want to put in a plug that if you're going to put up a bee hotel, you'll have to be really careful about making sure that it's not a trap for diseases or even parasites of these bees. So we do have an extension document available just all about making and managing bee hotels. And I really recommend that if this is something you want to put up in your garden, that you check out this document, read it through, and make sure that you're kind of doing the best for the bees in your area. it is really fun to watch I encourage it, [Isabel] I have a quick question. So what, for people who do have those bee hotels, what is your advice for your brief advice for managing them? So like usually things that they should do. [Kelsey] Absolutely. So again, read the document because it'll touch on things I probably will forget about it today, Definitely cleaning it out every year. So often people get those reeds. And I think one of the easiest ways to have a bee hotel because you can just take those reeds out and put fresh ones in every year. And that'll help with keeping diseases really low. Another think that people recommend is if you want, this isn't something necessarily have to do but once you see that all your nests or all your reeds are capped, so that's means there's like soil or something kind of at the end of that read, um, you can pull those out in the winter and put them in a barn or a shed, something that's going to get cold. But it's protected from birds because sometimes birds can comment, kind of eat them because there are yummy little bees in there. So that's just another reason how you can kind of help the population. And then you just have to remember to put them out again in the spring before they emerge. Yeah, but definitely read that document through and we're always happy to answer questions. [Abby] Yeah, and we'll make sure to share that document outright. I think I had a coworker who did some workshops on building be hotels. And they got such a great project to help kids get involved in? I'm pretty pretty simple for getting like an up-close window into science. The ability to observe, which is hard to find if you don't know where it'll be. [Kelsey] Yeah, exactly. But on that note, I always just encourage people right now is a great time to go stare at a blooming tree. So if you have, you know, blooming tree out your backyard, it'll be covered in bees if it is a nice day. So, so yeah, there's all, you know, all the wild bees are starting to come out and all the flowers are starting to bloom. So, you know, if you need to escape your house a little bit, it's great to just go and sit by a flower and watch and see which bees are coming. because you will see big ones, small ones, all sorts of different ones. So it's good to just explore and see what you can find. [Abby] that line in the top middle has such a pointy nose. [Kelsey] That's actually its tongue. Yeah. it is just totally going in for nectar. It hasn't retracted it yet. Yeah. Yeah. And it's ready... [Isabel] It's hungry. He's like his mouth is watering. Yeah, sorry. At the end of that. [Abby] So you mentioned that you study native bees. Can you talk about the differences between native and non-native bee? How do they interact? [Kelsey] Yeah, absolutely. So so yeah, so kind of coming out that my PhD was actually focused on a non native bee. So this is Anthidium manicatum the European Wool Carder bee. So I did grad school at Tufts University outside Boston. before coming over here to Michigan. And this is a super charismatic, really fun bee to watch, but it isn't native to here though it is all over the country. So you will see it especially in gardens around Lansing. They really like mints. So if you have mint in your yard, check it out. You're probably, probably see a Wool Carder bee/ And they don't look like any of our native species really so If you see it, it's an exotic bee And yes, it's not native. It came from Europe, but it's now almost worldwide distribution. So it's in North America, South America, Asia, New Zealand. And it got its name from doing this really cool behavior where it's actually stripping trichomes from this plant. And that's what it uses to line its nest. So it's a cavity nesting bee similar to mason bees or leaf cutter bees. And you can see it's balling up the trichomes and it's going to fly them back to its nest. I think it looks like it's flying with a little cloud. So they're really cute to watch. If you have any Lambs Ear, any other like really fuzzy plants in your garden, check it out and watch out for these bees they are often on the undersides of leaves. This one is on the top, which is kind of rare, but and you'll see, you can see where it's kind of taken the trichomes off. That's a good sign If you see that on your lambs ear plant that you've got wool carder bees around. [Isabel] So what do they use that that hair or those tricomes for? [Kelsey] they actually use that to line their nest. So we'll often put them in, like when we're making nests where we want to try to trap them, We use like bamboo and they'll just line every single cell along that bamboo stick. They'll, kinda cover it with these trichomes. And that's where they put their pollen and lay their egg. And they're kind of these little cavities all along bamboo reed. So, so yeah, similar to like mason bees who use mud to make each of those little cells. And then we've got cutter bees that use mashed up leaf bits. So kind of all of these are within this family of bees. They all do this kind of weird thing of using different materials to build these nest cells. [Abby} I'm planning this afternoon. I'm going out to my mint area and seeing if I can identify one. How can I identify a Wool Carder Bee? You said they look different than some of our other native bees? [Kelsey] So you can see they're kind of , they're really robust looking. And they've got really distinct yellow and black lines on their abdomens. So that's a big telltale sign. Definitely you see them doing this behavior, removing trichomes. It's a Wool Carder Bee. And actually they usually don't come out until mid-June, so you probably won't see any yet because they really, they're picky. They like it to be pretty warm, so, um, you'll see them mid-June through the rest of the summer in the September, they're quite common, so so you'll probably see them all around. Yeah. And I also wanted to talk about that's a female making the nest, but male worker bees also have really cool behaviors. So I got really hooked on behavior. So these males actually have spikes at the base of their abdomens that's pictured right here. And they actually create these territories of flowers. So they will pick out a nice territory where flowers are blooming, and they'll patrol it, and they'll actually do this to try to keep any other bees out. Make it super nice to let go of all the female wool carder bees will try to come in to gather nectar and pollen and that will give the male the opportunity to mate with her. So, so he kicks out all other bees and maintains this territory of flowers. He can be actually quite aggressive. So this is pictured the wing of a another bee that got hit by a wool carder bee. So they will come in really fast and just slam into another bee that's on a flower or even mid-air. I've seen them do it mid-air. And they'll actually curl their abdomen under, use those spikes to kind of jam into a bee. I've got this video on that. Hopefully it's slowed down so you can see what that looks like when they're interacting on a flower. [Abby] It sounds so aggressive! [Kelsey] Yes. So you can see he's kind of curling its abdomen under to kinda get those spikes in there. I'll play it one more time... And this is a pretty tame interaction, I'll say, compared to normal. I mean, usually they're coming in at really high speeds and slamming into bees and the bee's just like falling off the flower. So, so they, yeah, they're quite aggressive. They're not dangerous at all to humans. But males can't sting. No male bees can sting. but yeah, definitely quite aggressive towards other bees and this probably Isn't good for obviously our native bees were trying to get in and find resources just like, any other bee. And so this is kinda removing some floral resources from the environment that otherwise they would be using. Yeah, yeah. I guess I should kind of pivot then, to talk about kind of what I'm working on now. Because I was very focused on exotic bees and non native bees. But now my focus really is kind of on just the general bee community in Michigan. So I came to Michigan State in 2017 and my focus is really on understanding what's happening with wild bee populations across the state. So this is part of a bigger project called "The Pollinator Health Project" focused on honeybees, monarch butterflies. And wild bees. My part of the research was really on wild bees, but I touched on the other projects as well. And if you are working across the lower peninsula, going to these really nice prairies, like this picture here, and just trying to find any bees that we can to try to document what the current population of bees is there and compare that to historic bee communities. So we're actually going to museums and checking out what they had, you know, a 100 years ago and comparing what species they had then and what species we have now. And we actually found that we do have some species that are really declined while others are doing great or even increasing their range. So because we have so many different species, it may be not surprising that some bees are not doing well, kind of with all this landscape change and increase in pesticides. But then other bees are doing just fine. Some bees do great in urban environments, while others do really, really bad. So we're trying to identify which species are we concerned about from a conservation standpoint and which are doing just fine. That's really the focus of our work. [Abby]We can just think that it's interesting to kind of think about the natural interactions of even native bee species, right? I think we think about the purpose to which I know we're going to talk more about next week, but that there's just some kind of like general population shifts as they compete for a similar resources and territories. [Kelsey] Absolutely, yes, [Abby] As humans make some of those resources more scarce, like the fewer pollinator habitat, some things that we have, the more they're gonna kinda be in competition with each other. [Kelsey] Exactly. Yeah, you know, some, some of our bees are kind of generalists. So they will go to pretty much any flower that's out there that they can get pollen and nectar from. And then of course, we also have some bees that are specialists, so they really need a specific flower in the environment for them to do well. So those are typically the bees that were particularly concerned about who have these massive landscape changes. Are the resources that they need in the environment. So going to be there? So, so yeah, there's some typical traits that we would think of as red flags for whether or not that bee is going to do well over time and kind of dovetailing from that. A lot of my work was in for that previous project that I just talked about was In agricultural environments as it was funded by the USDA. So that got me thinking a lot about pesticides and how agricultural landscapes could maybe be improved to help support wild bee populations. So, so we do have some of these, what we call a pollinator or wildflower plantings in agricultural landscapes that are pictured here. And so my current research is really focused on how can we make the agricultural landscape safer for bees. So both, how can we decrease their exposure to pesticides? And then how can we improve floral resources? So making sure that they have enough food throughout the summer. So you know honey bees have benefit of being put into agricultural fields just during crop bloom So that's their kind of dangerous period where they're being exposed to pesticides, but then they're taken out of the field right. They're moved to other areas. And wild bees are just there, all season, so they're being chronically exposed to pesticides. And they have to deal with the fact that the crop is kinda the major thing blooming area on ones that crop is out of bloom, We want to make sure they have enough resources for the rest of this. I'm ready get them through. So putting in these wildfire plantings, there's something that we're really interested in. Try figure out, yeah, what kind of benefits is it giving to our wild bee populations as well as other insects as well in the area. [Isabel] So Kelsey I think a lot of the people tuning in, are wondering what they can do as home gardeners to support pollinators. Our native bees and wild bees. So if you could touch on some of those things. I think that the great. [Kelsey] Absolutely. Yeah. So I always like to end all of my talks of what you can do to help because you don't wanna do simple things that people can do. So bees need food. And their food is flowers. So really just anytime you can put more flowers into the environment, that's going to help wild bee populations and honeybees as well. So all bees need flowers, anything that you can do to plant flowers. So for my community garden, I try to encourage everybody within their bed to have at least like one really attractive, usually perennial flowering plant. Because that's going to bring in more bees to our garden and provide them with food. So it's going to provide you the benefit of making sure you have enough bees to pollinate whatever plants you have in there, or fruits and vegetables you have in there. It is just generally supporting that wild bee population in the area. So anything you can do to put more flowers in the environment. We have lots of resources online for what plants to plant. So we'll definitely put links to that. And I also definitely encourage people to check out the Xerces Society, They have great plant lists. It's really specific to your region, so you can look up exactly where you are. I love plant lists for bees for that area, [Abby] Could you spell that again for those who... Yeah. X E R, C. E. S.. [Kelsey] [Abby] Okay. And we'll make sure to send out a link to that. I think it sort of reminds me of something we heard a couple weeks ago of the need to diversify. Not just like the number that you're planting, but also when they bloom and early season blooms as well as late season blooms to kind of look at. I almost ran out and shouted at my partner and the other day when he was mowing the lawn. PROTECT the DANDELION! (laughing) [Kelsey] Yeah. So right now bees are usually do an OK. Because you have tons of trees in Michigan that are in bloom. But there's definitely, there's usually kind of lulls throughout the summer where we don't have a lot of things bloominh So trying to fill those lulls to make sure that you kinda consistent bloom across, across the summer. It's really important for all of our bees. I also don't want people to forget about nesting sites. So most of our bees nest in the ground, again, they don't sting so don't worry about that. But they need kinda bare soil. See that pictured here. So if you can leave any bare patches of soil, you know, skip mulch in certain areas if you can. That's going to help them out as well. And also leaving your garden a little bit messy at the end of the year. So a lot of our little bees like that, little ceratina, they're going to nest in stems. So kind of weaving those stems throughout the winter and not cleaning up your guarded until no early summer. That's going to give the bees enough time. All emerge in the spring. And then that'll be a good time to, to cut back your stance and understand it. So people can't do that if you have a really messy garden or whatever you need to do. But whenever possible, if you can leave them, that's that's a great thing. And then not tilling as well. Again, if the bees are in the ground and that's where they're spending the whole winter. Giving them some time to emerge is good. But then also, you know, they are going to be again nesting in the ground all summer as well. So whenever you can avoid tiling, and that's going to help, help the bees are potentially nesting in there. [Isabel] So Kelsey, for things like carpenter bees, we had the question come in... And so where do carpenter bees usually nest? Besides somebody's porch, which is the question. [Kelsey] yeah, they do. They really love nesting and people's porches, decks, houses. But yeah, usually they kind of like softer not hard wood So they're usually like nesting in the woods. But yeah, they, they tend to really like people's kind of built environment. They do pretty well. This is one of the bees that does really well in urban and residential areas. So, so yeah, they're tough, they're not of conservation concern at all and will be one species here and we're not worried about them. So I always tell people that, you know, you are, if you are really worried about it and they're doing a lot of damage. I'm not going to come after you if you say that you block up all the holes, so do what you've gotta do but, but they're really fun to watch. So if you get, if you can bear it and you can let them continue making nests, they're fun to watch. So yeah, yeah. Along those similar lines, doing anything you can to kind of keep bees safe is really important. That plays into if you have a garden. You know use integrated pest management approaches to reduce use of pesticides. So this is something we tell growers to do. Of course, you know, don't use pesticides unless, you know for sure you have a pest and then make sure that you're using the appropriate measures for that pest So we have great Extension here at MSU to kinda help you with that. And then I also try to tell people that, you know, if your livelihood isn't tied to these plants, please try to avoid pesticides. So anything that you can do to limit the amount of pesticides that bees are exposed to is is a huge thing. So if you're not really dependent on that plant, you might lose it to pests and that's unfortunate, but you're going to help some bees along a line by not using pesticides. So anything you can do to help is it is a big thing. And along those lines, anything small, I've seen people just put little container gardens out on their porch with flowers in it. That's helping. Or I've seen people convert their back 40 and huge restored prairie areas. So anything you can do whatever scale, putting flowers on the environment is going to help bees. So, so yeah, big or small, anything you're doing is ... [Kelsey] [Kelsey] [Kelsey] [Kelsey] [Kelsey] [Kelsey] [Abby] So that that tip you mentioned about, just like in your community garden, making sure there's one or two plants that are specifically for bee feeding purposes. As you know, we've kind of created pollinator breaks and some of our garden areas to just have that more consistent food source? [Kelsey] Absolutely. Yeah. And it's and it's going to bring a benefit to you directly as well, right? So you're not just helping the native bees in the area, you're also making sure that you have good fruit and vegetables. So yeah, and if you really want to get involved, there are some citizen science programs out there. Nobody's are directly tied to MSU, but there are definitely ways that you can document bees you're finding in your area. And it's something that scientists are using to help track populations across the state and across the nation. So these are good, good sources for that. [Isabel] Awesome. So I think we are going to take some audience questions now. So one of the first ones we got was, what's the difference between a wasp and a bee? because you mentioned yellow jackets, But I think people are curious about how to identify bees and maybe resources for that as well. [Kelsey] Yeah, yeah, so I usually have a slide for that and I'm bummed that I don't right now... so the major differences between wasps and bees, are that bees only eat pollen and nectar around here at least. And wasps are actually meat eaters, so they're going after caterpillars, mites, spiders, whatever they can get. They're generally eating other insects. And so they're really important for pest control and keeping, you know, pest populations of insects in check. So wasps often get kind of a bad name, but they are helping So try not to kill wasps either. However, often are wasps around here are social. So they often have these kind of big nests and they are going to defend them. And so that's why sometimes, you know, the kind of major culprit in terms of people getting stung. And we'd have allowed species that like to nest, you know, near people's houses. So, so unfortunately, They can be problematic in terms of human interactions. But yeah. And so other ways of kind of identifying them, they often have a really thin waist, so they look a lot like bees, a lot of our bees, but they're not typically not fuzzy, so they don't have a lot of hair on them. They have a pretty thin waist. And again, they're often social, so you might see a lot of them kind of in one area, moving in and out of a nest. So yeah, those are kind of the main, the main ways of identifying them. But we also have some solitary wasps that are quite friendly and they're not going to bother you. But if you see an insect that you think might be bee or a wasp that is visiting a flower, assume it's not going to harm you, it's most likely a bee. Sometimes you'll see wasps on some flowers too, but it's just busy eating. It doesn't want to hurt you. So really the only time you need to be worried about getting stung is if you're near its nest. [Abby] One of my favorite things about being friends with entomologists is that a lot of, ya'll have your boxes that have, all of the insects laid out and labeled which I think is a great kind of self-reference tool for being able to identify which bees are which. And I always get really excited when I see a new one. Do you have any great resources that maybe we could tour afterwards that help folks Identify bees? Maybe like a chart with pictures and names. I'm thinking? [Kelsey] absolutely, I can share that. [Abby] Yeah. Ok. So we'll make sure to send that out afterwards. You've got a couple of questions that are concerned with not seeing a lot of bees this time of year, and specifically seeing a couple dead bees all in a row, i think these are the concern, should we be concerned about the number of bees that are out this time of year? Is there a natural cycle to seeing increasing populations. [Kelsey] Yes, this is early in the season, so right now you're seeing those kind of early spring bees. So really you're not seeing the kind of full diversity of bees that you might see in like June, July. so I wouldn't be too concerned. You know, I've been wandering around and you have to wait for hot weather to kinda see a lot of bees being active. So we have kind of had a cool spring, so I really wouldn't worry about that too, too much. On hot days I've been seeing, you know, trees are covered in bees, so, so wouldn't be too worried about that yet. And in my research we've been noticing, you know, some species kind of are declining than others aren't. So kind of overall, we're not seeing a massive loss in bees, someplace that some other places around the world have documented. So and it might be happening here, but we don't have strong evidence of that yet. I wouldn't worry too much. [Isabel} Cool. And so we have one final question which is, I think a lot about like a paradigm shift. So how do you tackle the perception of maybe neighbors or people in your community who think like a lawn is beautiful versus wild pollinator habitats? I don't know if you have any advice or suggestions? It's I know it's kind of tough because it is like a paradigm shift. [Kelsey] Absolutely. Yeah. And I know people have come to me saying they're part of homeowners associations that don't allow you to have a messy-looking lawn, And I think if that's the case for you or going to the homeowner association and kind of explaining why you want your lawn to look like that And actually Xerces as I've kind of mentioned before, but also resources that we have online and can help you talk. have those conversations with neighbors or homeowners associations. There's simple things you can do to kind of make your lawn appealing to bees, but also kind of clean looking. So having distinct areas where you're putting in wild bee habitats, whether that means, you know, having the perimeter with bricks or having a sign that even says like "this is bee habitat." Something that kind of cues people into "this is purposeful" and you have a good reason for doing it can be really helpful instead of just kind of letting your lawn go... which I like, but I get it. Neighbors and other people aren't necessarily used to seeing that. So yeah, anything you can do to kind of make your bee habitat look purposeful, I think is really a good tip for that. Same in the Lansing area where there are a lot of urban gardens that are playground with leaving strips in between the sidewalk and road as natural habitat. A lot of signs that just provide the education, I agree that just kind of the, the more you can have those conversations with your neighbors and make it transparent as to why you're doing it. [Abby] I've toy around with like putting educational signs on my lawn about "bees live here, not mowing." Boy, Yeah. So I think we are needing to wrap up just because we are looking at the time and know we promised a quick Cabin Fever conversation. But this super informative and wonderful for the questions that we didn't get to. We will try to send as many responses in email as possible. I know there are a lot of concerns, about how to relocate bees and things like that. So maybe we'll follow up with some resources that provide more information on that. Kelsey, we like to end every conversation asking you what is bringing you, What about wild bees is bringing you hope, inspiration, joy, kind of what's keeping you going right now during tough times. [Kelsey] Yeah, I think people are really interested in bees. And so that's kind of keeping me going, just talking to neighbors or talking to people online that are just now interested in bees and want to help bees. Just awesome. You know, I think that's been a huge shift even in the last decade of it's kind of a general fear, not really understanding what bees are, how they're helping, to people really being interested in them and why the help is huge. So yeah, and just being able to kind of walk out my front door and look at flowers and see bees. That's helpful because typically I'd be doing a lot of field work right now, and I'm not because of the Pandemic. So it's nicely, you see, I'll get my small doses bees out in my front yard.Yes. Awesome. [Isabel] Also those pictures of bees the partially bringing me a lot actually because you're just really cute. [Abby] I wanted to ask you if you had a favorite bee, Kelsey. That may be too hard a question but... [Kelsey] I really like is a leaf cutter bee where the males have really fuzzy front legs, like excessively fuzzy front legs, really, really cute. And they actually think that they have these fuzzy front legs for while they're mating, He actually uses that to cover the eyes of the female so she doesn't get distracted. But he just - these bees look so ridiculous because their front legs are just like these big fluffy legs and they're just really, really cute. So that might be one of my favorite bees. [Abby] we won't keep you on record for that. So you can take any point in time it gives off. Well, thank you everyone for joining us. Thanks to Kelsey for being willing to be with us and share all your phenomenal knowledge today. Join us next Friday, we'll be discussing how to support some of our other flying friends. We will be supporting birds in our garden. I know a lot of you were excited about that chat a couple weeks ago that we are rescheduling with, Lamea Rouse from Michigan Audubon. It'll be next Friday at ten AM. And as always, we'll follow up with an email to learn more. So thank you everybody for tuning in. Thanks to Kelsey and we'll see you next week. Thank you.

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