EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A census completed by research students at MSU confirmed a new species of bees and revealed the actual number of bees in Michigan.
And good news..that number exceeded earlier estimates.
This was the first complete bee census executed by Michigan State University scientists. They concluded that 38 new bees were recorded in the state. This information is so important due to the declining honey bee populations.
All bees, or pollinators as MSU called them in the study, make an estimated $14 billion annual contribution to U.S. agriculture.
“Pollinator conservation is not possible without a good understanding of what bees we have and where they are found,” said Jason Gibbs, former MSU graduate student now with University of Manitoba. “We need better and more thorough sampling of our wild bee communities and an increased emphasis on understanding their basic taxonomy and natural history.”
The new species does not collect pollen or live in colonies.
To assist identification efforts, MSU has published “Bees of the Great Lakes Region and Wildflowers to Support Them.” Citizens can also log their finds at Bugguide.net and iNaturalist. In fact, citizen science submissions to these sites were included in Michigan’s improved bee count.
This research was funded by the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Integrated Crop Pollination Project.
For more on the findings - click on the website provided.