- Bees provide vital ecosystem services for cropping systems as well as natural landscapes. Declines in both both native bee and managed honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) populations has brought attention to the significance of their role as pollinators in managed and native ecosystems. As a result, conservation efforts have been undertaken to preserve them.
While considerable attention has been given to honey bees, relatively little is known about many native bee species. Of particular interest is the family Halictidae, which can comprise the majority of observed individuals in many habitats. These, often small, bees are difficult to identify, and, as a result, relatively little is known about their preferred floral hosts. Because bee species assemblages vary significantly from region to region, it is important to have an understanding of local populations and their floral hosts. It is also important to understand factors which affect the quantity and quality of floral resources, such as anthropogenic disturbance.
The Pacific Northwest is a diverse landscape, with rich agricultural and wildland environments that require pollinators in order to continue to thrive. Two studies examine the interface between these two systems, the first explores how roadside disturbance, which is prevalent across the world, impacts native pollinators across habitat types, and the second explores the diet of common native species, and how that diet changes across habitat types. In these studies, it was found that roadside disturbance was associated with reduced native bee diversity and abundance in the seasonally wet Willamette Valley of Oregon, but not in the more xeric Central Oregon. Bee abundance was positively correlated with temperature. Bee diet was more diverse in areas of scarce floral resources. In both regions, exotic plants were important floral hosts, representing nearly half of observed floral visitations. This thesis presents results of species analysis, floral richness and density correlations, and comparisons of floral resources used by different bee species. Implications and recommendations for land management are discussed.