The Biodiversity of Pollinating Bees

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The Biodiversity of Pollinating Bees, Hymenoptera Apoidea, and Their Importance in Conservation Ally Giguere, Conservation Biology, James Cook University Cairns, Australia May 16th, 2008 __________________________________________________________ Introduction: Bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea) are responsible for 85% of flower pollination in both North America and Central Europe (Muller et. al 2005). They collect pollen on hairs on their hind legs (Kearns et. al 1998) which they then use to create a nectar substance which acts as food for their brooding larvae. The pollen which remains on their hind legs is transferred from flower to flower, allowing pollination of the flowers. This relationship is vital for the production of flowers as well as the pollen source to sustain bee populations. Bee populations have been studies in both North America and Europe and a drastic decline in numbers has been recorded (Muller et. al 2005). Populations are under increasing threats from humans by fragmentation of habitat, agricultural practices, chemical use such as pesticides and herbicides, invasive non-native plants, and disease caused mainly by the use of commercial bees for honey and other products (Kearns et. al 1998). To ensure that the relationship between the pollinator and the flower remain intact, conservation efforts must be effectively executed to ensure that both bees and the flowers they use are protected. History of Bees: Many hymenoptera species exist in the world. These include wasps, ants, and bees- all of which show a unique social structure and communication abilities. The species which has been studies to the greatest degree is an Apoidea species, or pollen bee species; the honeybee, Apis mellifera (Michener 2000). Honeybees were brought to North American from Europe by settlers for commercial use. Honeybees since have acted invasively on many

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