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Individual Highlight

Forest Bees are More Active in the Canopy Than Near the Ground in the Southeastern U.S.

Photo of Augochlora pura was the most abundant bee species in the canopy. Sam Droege, USGSAugochlora pura was the most abundant bee species in the canopy. Sam Droege, USGSSnapshot : Results from one of the first studies to investigate how bees are vertically distributed in temperate deciduous forests suggest these insects are more numerous in the canopy than near the forest floor.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Ulyshen, MichaelHanula, James L.
Research Location : Athens, GA
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 743


Despite growing interest in both forest canopy biology and pollinator ecology, very few studies have examined the vertical distribution of forest bees. Recent work by Forest Service scientists indicates that bees are more abundant and species-rich in the canopies of southeastern U.S. temperate deciduous forests compared to near the forest floor. Four bee species were found to be significantly associated with the canopy whereas two were more closely associated with the forest floor. The most abundant bee species, Augochlora pura, was over 40 times more abundant in the canopy than near the ground. These findings suggest the forest canopy may provide important resources to these insects, with potentially important implications for pollinator conservation. Possible resources used by bees in the canopy include pollen and the sugar-rich honeydew excreted by aphids and other sap-sucking insects. Research in this area is ongoing.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Oconee National Forest
  • Villu Soon: Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

Program Areas