Wild Bees in Minnesota

image of cover of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer featuring article on native bee surveys

The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer published (Jul/Aug 2015 issue) a feature article on the Minnesota Biological Survey's grassland bee surveys.

Wild bees provide vital pollination services and are an integral component of biodiversity. Concerns over declining pollinators, combined with loss of native habitats and other threats to ecosystems in Minnesota led to an initiative to develop a list of bee species in the state. It's important to record what bee species live in Minnesota and which habitats they prefer so we can practice effective pollinator conservation. To support this work, the  Minnesota Biological Survey applied to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for a grant from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. This project began July 1, 2014 and is ongoing.

The Minnesota Wild Bee Surveys project has produced a preliminary state species list of Minnesota bees, containing over 400 species. The list will continue to be updated as surveys are completed and specimen identifications are confirmed.

This instructional video explains how and why statewide bee surveys have been conducted.

LCCMR Project ENRTF ID: 006-A. Wild Bee Surveys in MN's Prairie-Grassland Habitats


Wild Bee Surveys in Prairie-Grassland Habitats

Why are wild bees in peril?

The health of our wild bee population is uncertain. We know very little about the diversity and distribution of wild bees in Minnesota. Research elsewhere suggests that wild bees have suffered serious declines as habitat loss and pesticide use have accelerated. Successful enhancement of pollinator habitat depends on baseline data about our wild bees.

Project Objectives

  • Compile existing information about wild bees in Minnesota
  • Conduct surveys of wild bees on native prairies in Minnesota
  • Compare wild bee fauna on native versus restored prairie-grasslands

Field staff with the Minnesota Biological Survey will set pan traps along transects at sites across the Prairie Parkland Province and the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands Province.

LCCMR Project ENRTF ID: 005-A. Wild Bee Surveys in MN's Prairie-Forest Habitats

Wild Bee Surveys in Minnesota’s Prairie-Forest Habitats

Our knowledge of wild bees

Although our knowledge is improving about the diversity and distribution of Minnesota’s bees, large gaps still exist. This project builds upon the initial ENRTF-funded grant (ML14-5(i) Wild Bee Pollinator Surveys in Prairie-Grassland Habitats. It will expand surveys into the Eastern Broadleaf Forest in central and southeastern Minnesota.

Project Objectives

  • Extend surveys of wild bees to forested and open habitats in central and southeastern Minnesota
  • Continue to develop resources and educational opportunities that promote conservation and appreciation of Minnesota’s wild bees

Field staff with the Minnesota Biological Survey sampled bees at sites across the Prairie Parkland Provinceand the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands Province.