Published: September 11, 2012
Original Presentation- Sept 11, 2012 Big Muddy Speaker Series – Rocheport 2012
“Bottom land Bees” – by Wedge Watkins, biologist for the Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge
Bee on butterfly milkweed blossom. Photo courtesy of USFWS.
Most often, bees are thought of annoying creatures that fly around in the summer, and occasionally sting. Biologist Wedge Watkins knows that isn’t the case. Bees are an essential part to the pollination and overall livelihood of flowering plants. These flying creatures are responsible for pollinating over 75 percent of flowering plants and almost 75 percent of crops. Because these creatures do not migrate, it is important to understand where the bees habitate. Without this knowledge monitoring plant communities and climate adaptation would be very difficult.
Refuge biologist and Midwest Region Pollinator Coordinator Wedge Watkins shared information about these native populations of bees, an update on the Overton Bottoms survey, as well as his recent work with a new survey that started this summer.
This new survey takes place along the Mississippi River and at nine different refuges. From LaCrosse, Wisc. to south of St. Louis, these sights have discovered species that are new to science; as well as, new state and county records. At some locations that were thought to be scarcely inhabited, bees have been found in large numbers.
Wedge has been leading a sampling at Cora Island as part of the survey. Mike Arduser from MDC is doing the ID work with the survey. Along with Missouri Master Naturalists and a MU student, this survey has discovered many new findings and fascinating results.
Resources and Links
- Presentation Flier (pdf)
- Some videos and podcasts on pollinator science, including an interview with Wedge Watkins
- Missouri Bee Identification Guide
- The Pollinator Partnership homepage
- US Fish & Wildlife pollinator portal
- Global Action on Pollinators
- The Xerces Society, an organization for invertebrate conservation
The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport
is hosted by these wonderful partners.
- Missouri River Relief
- Friends of Big Muddy
- Columbia Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office (USFWS)
- Les Bourgeois Vineyards
- Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge
Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us! Click here for a list of upcoming presentations» The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Kansas City and St. Charles.