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Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge Provides Habitat for Rare Connecticut Bee Species
Northeast Region, October 28, 2014
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Milkweed
Milkweed - Photo Credit: Mariah Box USFWS
Bee on goldenrod at Salt Meadow
Bee on goldenrod at Salt Meadow - Photo Credit: M. Allen
Bee on butterfly weed at Salt Meadow
Bee on butterfly weed at Salt Meadow - Photo Credit: M. Allen

This is the third year that Stewart B. McKinney NWR has partnered with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) on a long-term monitoring study which will establish a baseline population of bee species in the state. The Refuge is just one of many sites throughout Connecticut that collects bee species from April to October each year. Dr. Kim Stoner and her technician, Tracy Zarrillo, from CAES have set up the study so that it follows the same protocol as a USGS national sampling of bee species which makes our data not just valuable at a local level – but of value nationwide.
The “Bee Plots” are located in a shrubby meadow area adjacent to the historic stone office building at the Salt Meadow Unit. There are 9 cups in total – 3 white, 3 blue, and 3 yellow – that sit on the ground filled with liquid to capture the bee species. We collect the samples every other week. The plant species in this area are great for pollinators and include milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), goldenrod (Solidago spp.), and several species of aster.
At this point, the CAES has identified our samples from 2012 and sent us the results. They identified 47 different species of bees at Salt Meadow. Of these species, two are rather rare – both are sweat bees or members of the Lasioglossum genus. These bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops worldwide. The rare species that were found at Salt Meadow are Lasioglossum (Dialictus) subviridatum (Cockerell) and Lasioglossum (Dialictus) abanci (Crawford) – one is uncommon and hasn’t been recorded in the state since 1915 and the other is a new state record.


Contact Info: Kristina Vagos, 860-399-2513 x113, Kristina_Vagos@fws.gov
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