Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
The value of bees as providers of pollination, an incredibly important ecosystem service, is well understood. Since the detection of colony collapse disorder, the concern over the health of both managed and naturally occurring bee populations has been in the limelight, sometimes being discussed nearly as much in popular media as it is in scientific research. While an ideal situation may be the complete recovery of Apis mellifera populations, the causes of colony losses are not fully understood. Therefore, we must also consider our alternative options such as managing areas to better support natural bees and utilizing alternative managed species, such as Osmia cornifrons, in the most effective way possible. The goals of this research were (1) to determine the faunal diversity of bees in West Virginia and to enhance monitoring programs for future survey efforts, and (2) to elucidate some problems that may arise when utilizing those species of bees which are commonly managed as alternative pollinators in West Virginia. The results of this study showed that there are 301 currently recognized bee species within the boundaries of West Virginia, and there are likely many more not yet discovered due to lack of collecting effort in some areas of the state. To achieve independent samples when utilizing pan traps for survey work, a distance of 18 m between traps is necessary. Osmia cornifrons was found to be more sensitive to temperature than many other insects, including other bees, and male bees were found to be at greater risk of parasitism by Monodontomerus spp. then females. This study provides fundamental and useful information for the conservation and management of native and managed bee species in West Virginia.
McKinney, Matthew, "Bee Natural History, Diversity, and Management in West Virginia" (2016). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6202.