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Targeting cities as refuge areas for pollinators

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Dr. Rebecca Tonietto searching for bees in the prairie at the Chicago Botanic Garden (photo credit: Robin Carlson).

To provide nesting habitat, don’t put mulch everywhere and leave some fallen limbs or cut logs out in the yard.

By Tim Ward
Huffington Post
Feb 16, 2016

Excerpt:

Question 3: Why target shrinking cities as refuge areas for pollinators?

Answer: It may be surprising, but studies from cities around the world report high levels of bee diversity and abundance, even including some rare specialized bees. Naturally patchy habitat is the norm in meadows and prairies and the urban mosaic isn’t necessarily all that different. Imagine walking down a residential urban block in the summertime. There are clusters of brightly colored flowers blooming here and there, in window boxes and pots on stoops, in the landscaping between the road and sidewalk, the dandelions and clover dotting the park lawn. All of that may just look pretty to us, but it’s a buffet for bees.

Nooks and crannies in buildings and other structures can be great nesting habitat for some species, as are patches of bare ground for others. Beyond food and nesting sites, cities offer escape from many agricultural pesticides, and even reduced herbivory pressure on rare host plants some specialist bees can’t live without. In shrinking cities new green spaces are created as the city depopulates. For these reasons, shrinking cities in particular can offer relief from the two main factors negatively impacting pollinators: exposure to pesticides and habitat loss.

Read the complete article here.