Episode 2: National Pollinator Week 2015 and Interview with a Gardiner

Intro: National Pollinator Week: June 15-21 2015. For more information, visit www.pollinator.org.

The Buzz Word: Nectaring. Nectaring is the word used when a bee or pollinator is foraging for, or drinking nectar. Nectar is a sugary liquid produced by plants to attract bees, and it serves as an energy drink for the insect so that they have the energy to forage for pollen.

BuzzWorthy News: White House Pollinator Strategy- On May 19th 2015, the White House Pollinator Health Task Force released their strategic plan to improve pollinator health. This is a 64 page document outlining how the White House plans to work with public and private organizations to improve pollinator habitats, and protect pollinators from exposure to pesticides and other harmful substances. This is a great step in conservation, as many organizations will be able to use this document to develop their own methods for helping pollinators, and if the White house is urging pollinator conservation, this means there will be grant funding available to support programs  aiming to do this work. If you would like to read the Strategic Plan, click here. 

Research Updates: Part 1 of the season is done!  We have a 3 part season so that we can monitor the pollinators in the early summer, mid summer, and late summer. This allows to get a full season view of the communities and how they change throughout the year. We visited 35 farms and gardens in the Puget Sound area of Washington State and collected and observed the bee communities and the flowers they were visiting. The early season doesn't see a ton of different bees, but we expect to see the diversity go up quite a bit during the middle season survey which starts in just a couple of weeks!

Interview: Mary Gardiner of Ohio State University. You can find her through her lab's website and through her Facebook page: Ag Urban Landscape Ecology.

Events: National Pollinator Week Event- Seattle Town Hall with Eric Mader of Xerces Soceity. CSI Bees: Seattle events in Seattle area- the next events are July 18 and July 25. Check the events page for full details.

Pollinator of the Day: Bumblebees are in the family Apidae, and they are all in the same genus, Bombus. There are about 250 species of bumblebees in the world, primarily occurring in the norther hemisphere, but they can also be found throughout south America, New Zealand and Tanzania. Bumblebees are very common in most landscapes. Queen bumblebees spend the winter hibernating, and they are the first to emerge in the spring. You can tell a queen from a worker because the queens are very large. When queens emerge in early spring, they first look for a place to build a nest, and they look for food. Once a queen has built her nest, she begins to forage for pollen. She will use this pollen to feed to her larvae. The larvae hatch from eggs laid by the queen, and eat the pollen. They grow, pupate, and then emerge as adults and become workers for the queen. Once the queen has a few workers, she stays in the nest and begins to spend her time laying more eggs, while the workers leave the nest to collect pollen for the next batch of larvae. The queen and workers all work together to raise more offspring together, collect food, and protect the nest. Bumblebees are excellent pollinators because they can carry a lot of pollen, they like to visit a lot of different flowers, and, because they are large, they can withstand cooler weather, so they are able to come out earlier in the day and stay out later into the evening. They can also do something called "buzz pollination" which is where they vibrate their bodies to shake pollen loose from flowers. Some plants, like tomatoes, require this buzz pollination to create fruits, so without bumblebees, there would be no tomatoes!

End: This podcast is supported by a grant from the United State Department of Agriculture. If you would like to learn more, you can find the show notes, blog, events, and research information at www.whatsthebuzzresearch.com. You can follow Whats The Buzz on Twitter @buzz_research, and you can follow me, @RLOlsson. If you have a question or a comment, you can email me at whatsthebuzzresearch@gmail.com or you can click on the Contact Us button on the website. Next month we will be discussing moths for national moth week! If you like the show, please leave a review on iTunes or share the show with your friends! In the mean time, try to get out and find a Pollinator Week event, plant some flowers, and listen for the buzz! Thanks for listening!