UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab - The Buzz - March, 2017 
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Field Season Begins Now!

While active throughout much of the year, California's native bees are particularly busy in the Spring as there is an abundance of blooms at this time. The winter rains we have experienced should encourage excellent flowering, and with excellent flowering you can generally expect to see excellent bee numbers. We have spent the past several months in the Lab - working on grant deliverables, catching up with labeling our collections, and writing publications. We couldn't be more excited to be spending time in the field. 

We have several ongoing projects for which we need to monitor bee populations through aerial netting and pan trapping, assess floral resources, and continue installing and maintaining habitat gardens. We will be spending the majority of our days in March, April, and May out at our urban sites throughout the state, on Mt. Diablo State Park, or with our farm collaborators in Contra Costa County and Ventura County. We wish we could share what a typical day in the field is like, but one of the exciting things about this work is that there's no such thing as a typical day. 

While we continue monitoring through the Summer and Fall, our main collections will be taking place in the upcoming months, at least for our agricultural sites. This period is when you can expect most of our target crops (apples, berries, cherries, and avocados) to be in flower, so we will also conduct frequency counts to assess which bee species are visiting the blossoms. 
Upcoming Events:

Our events for the months of March or April are unfortunately not open to the public. To bring us to an event, please click here
Update on the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee's Endangered Species Status Listing. 

Orchard in bloom at Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood! We are conducting frequency counts to determine which native bees are visiting the crop flowers.
March Bee of the Month
Our March Bee of the Month is Centris aethyctera - a Costa Rican native! This photo is of a female Centris aethyctera visiting the flowers of Pterocarpus michelianus in Guanacaste. 

This species of Centris is quite common in urban and wild areas in Guanacaste, visiting the flowers of numerous plants. There might be dozens foraging on one tree at the same time. It is medium-large sized, and it's characteristic striped abdomen earns it the nickname "Tiger Centris." 

Dr. Frankie has published papers on the nesting habits of Centris aethyctera. This bee, like most solitary bees, is a ground-nester.

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UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab · Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley · 130 Mulford Hall #3114 · Berkeley, Ca 94720 · USA

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