Natural habitats, comprised of various flowering plant species, provide food and nesting resources for pollinator species and other beneficial arthropods. Loss of such habitats in agricultural regions and in other human-modified landscapes could be a factor in recent bee declines. Artificially established floral plantings may offset these losses. A multi-year, season-long field study was conducted to examine how wildflower plantings near commercial apple orchards influenced bee communities. We examined bee abundance, species richness, diversity, and species assemblages in both the floral plantings and adjoining apple orchards. We also examined bee community subsets, such as known tree fruit pollinators, rare pollinator species, and bees collected during apple bloom. During this study, a total of 138 species of bees were collected, which included 100 species in the floral plantings and 116 species in the apple orchards. Abundance of rare bee species was not significantly different between apple orchards and the floral plantings. During apple bloom, the known tree fruit pollinators were more frequently captured in the orchards than the floral plantings. However, after apple bloom, the abundance of known tree fruit pollinating bees increased significantly in the floral plantings, indicating potential for floral plantings to provide additional food and nesting resources when apple flowers are not available.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes