Bumblebee foraging habits may be affected by warmer temperatures

Food security is a global concern and maintaining the populations of insect pollinators is vital. Bumblebees in North America are in decline. In the Pacific Northwest, understanding how bees respond to climate change could provide insight to why they might be declining. Paper was written for Dr. Susan Water's Science Methods and Practice Class (BES 301).

We wanted to establish if bumblebees foraged during certain parts of the day, and if they preferred specific weather. Using citizen science, urban p-patches and schools were assigned cherry tomato plants; observations were made when a bee would visit, including species, time of day, and weather conditions. We discovered that bumblebees foraged more during the cooler part of midday and when it was sunny, but not when light was most intense. Bumblebees did not forage during the warmest part of the day. With increased global temperatures and hotter urban environments, temperature sensitivity could affect the amount of time bees are out foraging and pollinating food crops.

 

Awarded best paper in class of 50 students