Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Columbia Gorge bee habitat

Driving home from Corbett along the Columbia Gorge on Saturday I was struck by what great Osmia lignaria habitat there is along the highway. Big leaf maple was in full bloom - the lime green trees in the photo on the left. O. lignaria loves it. It has tons of pollen in small light green flowers in long racemes. I think it also has some nectar, but I'm not sure.

Plus there were periodic wild cherry or plum trees scattered along the side of the road all the way from Corbett to Hood River. Bees are probably nest limited in this area. I'll bet a transect of bee nests along the highway would yield lots of bees, if anyone has a few cocoons to seed the area wants to take the time and the mileage to set them up and take them down.

That reminds me; any of our readers from western Oregon, Northern California, and western Washington can be on the lookout for O. aglaia during cane fruit bloom. They are smaller than the blue orchard bee, and come in metallic blue, green and bronze colors. Hopefully we'll have good photos later this season. So far we haven't any proof that this species is present in Washington, so we will be very interested if anyone can prove that they are there. Good photos will help, but ultimately we'll need either adults collected from the flowers or cocoons from nests with good location records. We know they visit Himalayan Blackberry, so that's a good place to look for them during bloom.

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