Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bee watching

There are 226 known species of bees in New York City, including the honey bee (apis mellifera). There are probably more, since North America has approximately 4000 species, with 800 of those found east of the Mississippi River, and these numbers do not include invasive or exotic species, which made up nearly 20% of the species found in this study of community gardens in the Bronx and Harlem. So I was way off on the survey they handed out to attendees at the Great Pollinator Project /NYC Bee Watch orientation last night at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (orientations continue in other boroughs this week). I picked 75 species because I remembered a number in the high two-digits from the study (it was 54), but that was specific to urban gardens, and didn’t include our great green lungs, the parks, and the nurturing green that swaddles the metropolis.
More bees, please! The general breakdown of bees for our purposes is honey bee, bumble bees, carpenter bees, green metallic bees, a.k.a. sweat bees (top image), and then, because the non-specialists taking part in the Bee Watch aren’t expected to be entomologists, “other bees” which include leaf-cutters, wool-carders, resin bees (middle image; an introduced species), and melissodes (bottom image, note the long antennae).
I took all these pictures last year. The images come from the (from the top) Garden of Union (Union & 4th Avenue); a house at Sackett and Bond Streets; and the Red-headed Gardener of the Gowanus' Garden, at Union St. at the canal.

The orientation included some bee-friendly seedlings: woodland sunflower, lemon queen sunflower, wild bergamont, mountain mint, smooth blue aster, tall hairy goldenrod, common milkweek. I seemed to be the only person carrying plants when I passed through the David Byrne concert/scrum in the park last night. Pictures of the back 40 garden will be forthcoming after the Sharecropper visits.

1 comment:

knithound brooklyn said...

Yes, more bees please!
We gave the David Byrne concert a valiant try but the crowd was just too much for us. I hate it when the whole world discovers something we've enjoyed for ourselves. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.