Publication Details

Bee fauna and floral abundance within lawn-dominated suburban yards in Springfield, MA

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Year Published

2016

Publication

Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 11 p. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aesa/saw043.

Abstract

Private yards comprise a significant component of urban lands, with managed lawns representing the dominant land cover. Lawns blanket>163,000 km2 of the United States, and 50% of urban and suburban areas. When not treated with herbicides, lawns have the capacity to support a diversity of spontaneous (e.g., not planted) flowers, with the potential to provide nectar and pollen resources for pollinators such as native bees. In order to determine the extent to which suburban lawns support these important species, we surveyed lawns in 17 suburban yards in Springfield, MA, between May and September 2013 and 2014. Householders participating in the study did not apply chemical pesticides or herbicides to lawns for the duration of the study. We collected 5,331 individual bees, representing 111 species, and 29% of bee species reported for the state. The majority of species were native to North America (94.6%), nested in soil (73%), and solitary (48.6%). Species richness was lower for oligolectic (specialists on a single plant; 9.9%) and parasitic species (12.6%). Abundance percentages for number of individuals were similar. We documented 63 plant species in the lawns, the majority of which were not intentionally planted. The most abundant lawn flowers were dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and clover (Trifolium sp.). Nearly 30% of the spontaneous plant species growing in the lawns were native to North America. Our study suggests that the spontaneous lawn flowers could be viewed as supplemental floral resources and support pollinators, thereby enhancing the value of urban green spaces.

Citation

Lerman, S.B.; Milam, J. 2016. Bee fauna and floral abundance within lawn-dominated suburban yards in Springfield, MA. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 11 p. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aesa/saw043.

Last updated on: September 1, 2016