The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) organized a Listening Session to discuss a plan to monitor native bees in the US. The meeting was held in Washington DC in the USDA South Building Café Conference Center and broadcasted via Webinar.
On June 28, from 8 to 11 am, several Universities, beekeeper associations and other environmental agencies from all over the country participated in this session, but attendance was low and finished earlier than what was expected.
Here is just a list of key points that were mentioned and are important to consider to plan for a National Monitoring Strategy for native bees.
- Collection and use of data have a better model. USDA guidelines
- USDA to propose guidelines for collection and use of data
- Data collection needs to be robust, continuous, and id all specimens to species
- Bee-plant interaction needs to be understood better
- 100 radius Honey Bees can starve native bees if there are not enough resources
- Future of food production
- Native plant community is essential
- Botanical data need to be available
- Identify prolific bees by region
- Pesticide regulation is failing, keeping poisonous products in the market
- Understand bee cycles better to use in agricultural crops
- Increase taxonomic expertise
- There is more knowledge on Bombus species than any other natives
- Understanding diseases, fungus, pests on native bees
- Understanding invasive non-native bee species
- Improve conservation efforts once data is available
- Abundance, identity, and species richness
- Will standardized sampling help with better data?
- Climate change is a significant factor in decline of native bees in cities
- Increasing Honey bee colonies in Cities can push out native bees species we do not know about yet.
According to NIFA, the frequently reported factors responsible for pollinator insect decline (in this case native bees) include: invasive pest, parasites, and diseases increased exposure to pesticides, pollutants or toxins; nutritional deficits, extreme weather events; agricultural intensification and habitat loss; reduced genetic diversity, and changes in pollinator or crop management practices.