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: 05i. Wild Bee Surveys in MN's 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.
- 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
- LCCMR Project ENRTF ID: 03-B. Wild Bee Surveys in MN'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.
- 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
- LCCMR Project ENRTF ID: 03s. Native Bee Survey
From past DNR surveys and several research projects in the prairie region of Minnesota, our collective understanding of the bee diversity in those ecoregions is far greater than the underserved forested regions. This project will continue to assess the current status and distribution of native bee pollinators in Minnesota by expanding surveys into the coniferous-deciduous forest region of Minnesota and facilitating interagency collaboration and public outreach on pollinators.
- Expand and enhance our knowledge of Minnesota’s wild bees and their plant associations by documenting bees from Laurentian Mixed Forest habitats
- Deliver outreach programs focused on Minnesota wild bee identification and monitoring
Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).