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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Bee Abundance and Flower Use in Chicago Community Gardens

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AUTHORS: Michael Roberts*, Alexis Smith, Emily Minor – University of Illinois at Chicago

ABSTRACT: Community gardens allow residents to participate in creating green spaces in their city. As urban green spaces these gardens provide resources for native and non-native animal residents of the city. Choices made when designing gardens and their surrounding urban matrix likely impact available resources and thus the biodiversity found in gardens. These choices may impact how many floral resources are available for foraging wild pollinators, either directly via crop choice and density, or indirectly as in the potential for honeybees in artificial hives to compete with native bees. In summer 2017 we surveyed bee activity in 24 Chicago community gardens. We wanted to know how local garden characteristics, the presence of honeybee hives, and the surrounding landscape impact wild bee abundance and foraging. In each garden we identified bees in the field by morpho-species groups and gathered information about floral resources, the garden's size, amount of green space surrounding the garden, the presence of artificial honeybee hives, and other potentially explanatory variables. Using mixed models we estimated the effect of surrounding green space on bee abundance and diversity, and honeybee hives on bees' contact with flowers while visiting plots. Preliminary estimates suggest that while plot level floral resources increase bee abundance, green space surrounding the garden makes bees less responsive to floral density in a plot. We hypothesize that as surrounding foraging opportunities increase, bees are less reliant on garden patches for access to dense resources. The presence of beehives appears to increase foraging in plots with dense floral resources relative to plots with low-density floral patches. This study contributes to our knowledge of how urban green spaces impact bees during a time when bee conservation is of considerable concern.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

Attendees (3)