Social Wasps and Bees in the Upper Midwest
Are you interested in having more bees in your garden? Are wasps buzzing around your pop can? Learn about their life cycles, what they feed on, and where they nest. The behavior and biology of the most commonly encountered wasps and bees in Iowa are described in this resource available from our partners at University of Minnesota Extension. This resource was a joint project between Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the University of Wisconsin Extension, and University of Minnesota Extension.
Conserving Bees in Iowa Field Crops
Honey bees, bumble bees, and native solitary bees are important pollinators for crops such as apples, blueberries, squash, and melons. Interestingly, even though they are not required for pollination in soybean and corn, ISU researchers monitor over 25 bee species in soybean and corn fields.
Build Your Own Solitary Bee Nest
Native solitary bees are very efficient and effective pollinators. You can help conserve tunnel-nesting bee populations by constructing artificial bee nests.
Resources for Beekeepers in Iowa
Listing of officials involved in the Iowa Honey Producers Association and beekeeping clubs. Also includes helpful links on information about apiary management.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has created a registry for producers to list the locations of their pesticide sensitive crops and for beekeepers to list the locations of their apiaries. This registry will be used to create an on-line directory for use by pesticide applicators to identify the locations of sensitive crops and apiaries and minimize the potential for pesticide drift damage.
Driftwatch (also known as Beecheck) is a tool that is used to help protect honey bees from exposure to chemicals that are toxic to bees. By adding the locations of your beehives to the map and registry, pesticides applicators will avoid application of pesticides toxic to bees to blooming crops in close proximity of the registered location during heavy honey bee foraging hours.
Last week saw two big events related to bees: the announcement by the European Union (EU) of a restriction on use of neonicotinoids insecticides and a joint report on the health of honey bees by the USDA and EPA. These events share a similar theme of preventing a widespread decline in pollinator abundance. In this article, we discuss what these events may mean for the on-going efforts to conserve pollinators and the future of insecticide registration in the United States.
The European Union’s restriction on the use of neonicotinoids and the joint USDA/EPA report of a continued decline in honey bees reminds us of the on-going issues with pollinator health. Specifically, the decline of honey bee populations is reaching a breaking point for pollinated crops in the United States. In an article published in Wired magazine (Keim 2013), entomologist Dennis vanEngelstorp from the University of Maryland noted, “We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands.”
Know what to look for when checking pesticide labels for insecticides that can harm pollinators, especially bees. Find out about the insecticides that are most toxic to honey bees, bumble bees, and native solitary bees. Also find 10 ways that individuals can help protect bees. Includes several online sources of information.
Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of chemistry to control insects. They are now widely adopted because they are persistent and systemic in plant tissues. Most field crops in Iowa have a neonicotinoid seed treatment. Common examples of neonicotinoids include: clothianidin (Poncho ®), thiamethoxam (Cruiser ®), and imidacloprid (Gaucho ®). Active ingredient rates range from 0.25-1.25 milligrams per kernel (sold as 250-1,250 rates).
An online resource devoted to North American insects, spiders and their kin, offering identification, images, and information.
An online resource devoted to North American insects, spiders and their kin, offering identification, images, and information.