High species richness of bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) at a farm in Stenbrohult, the birth place of Linnaeus

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Abstract

Solitary bees and bumblebees have declined substantially throughout western Europe during the last 100 years. Many species are important pollinators and are associated with particular plant species and habitats. In this study we report the highest number of bee species found at one locality in Sweden (Table 2). In total 87 species of wild bees (74 species of solitary bees and 13 species of bumble bees) were found on the farm Djäknabygd in the parish of Stenbrohult, southern Sweden (Table 1). Apis mellifera was also frequent. The surveyed area consists of about one hectare of hay meadow with late harvest and seven hectares of pasture interspersed by small stands of deciduous trees, grazed mainly by cattle and a few horses. Solitary bees were surveyed in suitable weather in April to August in 2003–2006 and were identified in the field or collected for later identification using a butterfly net. Bumble bees were mainly sampled in late summer, but not as comprehensively as solitary bees. Thus, some bumble bee species found at nearby farms may have been missed at Djäknabygd. We conclude that unfertilized grassland habitats can harbour extremely species rich assemblages of bees. Still these habitats have been less studied in Sweden compared to sandy habitats. The latter have often been considered as a prerequisite for a species rich bee fauna. Expansion of traditional hay meadow management and grazing by cattle and a few horses only in August–November is crucial for the survival of this exceptionally rich bee fauna. Nesting places must also be provided for those species that need exposed soil.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology

Keywords

  • bumble bees, grasslands, wild bees, Apoidea, Hymenoptera, Stenbrohult, Species richness
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)48-58
JournalFauna och Flora: populär tidskrift för biologi
Volume102
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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