Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Oct 23, 2014
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2019
Grant Year
Project Director
Frankie, G.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Insect Biology
Non Technical Summary
As 30% of US food crops depend on honey bee pollination, the implications of ongoing declines are of growing concern, particularly as Colony Collapse Disorder continues to claim over 30% of managed honey bee hives per year. Recent research has begun to explore the potential use of native bees to supplement pollination services. However, more is needed to quantify impacts of native bee farming in diverse agricultural systems and regions; identify methods to encourage the best native bees for specific crops; and engage farmers in implementation.Farming for Native Bees is an innovative, farmer-initiated project that aligns with a number of USDA-NRCS goals for establishing, monitoring, and evaluating pollinator habitat, and educating and engaging agricultural producers in pollinator conservation. The project's overarching goals are:1. Provide a stable, cost-effective and sustainable native bee supplement to honey bee pollination2. Establish new habitats in agricultural areas that will conserve and protect California's native bees3. Educate several Californian audiences about native bees and their critical importance to agricultureLaunched in Brentwood in 2010 the project has produced exceptional results: bee populations have more than tripled; information on the best habitat compositions for specific crop types is being developed; and 8 farmers have joined the project. With funding from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE), the project will be replicated in Ventura County, allowing us to explore new climatic and business conditions, as well as new crop types (particularly avocados).With grant support from the national NRCS-CIG program Farming for Native Bees, we will build on data collected in Brentwood and Ventura Counties, and prepare it for public use. Our objectives are to develop 4 main products that will guide and support farmers and other audiences in attracting and sustaining wild and native pollinators. These include:1. Prescriptive treatments will identify the best habitat compositions and management practices for a series of crop types, allowing farmers and agricultural professionals to envision how habitats might be adapted to the unique conditions of individual farms.2. Economic (business) analysis will contextualize pollination services within overall operational and overhead costs and identify best methods for "selling" farmers on the new technologies.3. Technical Service Provider (TSP) pilot program will provide detailed, region-specific recommendations for TSP criteria, and develop and test an in-depth training program.4. Special outreach materials designed for gardeners and naturalists.The project represents a collaboration between 8 farmers in Brentwood, northern California, 4 farmers in Ventura Co., researchers at UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Humboldt State Universities, NRCS, UC Cooperative Extension, and an independent conservation expert.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
1. Establish native bee habitat in diverse agricultural areas of northern and southern California.2. Monitor native bees in "treatment" farms (with installed floral and nesting resources) compared to "control" farms with no added habitat to assess capacity of native bees to supplement pollination services of honey bees of crop flowers.3. Conduct business/economic analysis of factors that farmers consider important in making agricultural business decisions, with a focus on bees and pollination services.4. Pollinator Technical Service Provider (TSP) Pilot Program: Evaluate description of skills necessary to become a TSP for native bee pollinators in agricultural environments.5. Continue statewide survey of native bees and their preferred host flowers in urban gardens in 5 cities: Chico, Sonoma, Bishop, Camarillo, and Palm Springs that relate to "Farming" project.6. Monitor native bees on native plants in urban vs wild areas in Costa Rica as a model for future, similar work in California.7. Outreach bee findings from above projects to several audiences in California and Costa Rica.
Project Methods
Field research, led by Dr. Gordon Frankie, will continue monitoring 4 treatment and 4 control sites in Brentwood, California (work started:2010). 8 sites on 4 farms in Ventura will also be monitored (work started: 2014). Native bee habitat consisting of almost 80 bee-attractive plant types (includes species, subspecies, varieties, cultivars, and hybrids), has already been established on Brentwood farms, with exceptional results: bee populations have more than tripled, and key crop pollinators have been recorded regularly visiting crop flowers.Habitat design is based on 14 years of survey work on ornamental plants and their native bees in 50+ urban gardens in 15 cities across California (Frankie et al. 2005, 2009a,b, 2014). The survey evaluated relative attractiveness of hundreds of plant types to diverse native bees.One important result was that the more "bee-plants" contained in a given garden, the more bees will be found, not only in the garden as a whole, but visiting each individual plant species. Application of this finding marks a critical difference between the proposed project and other similar projects. Over 100 bee species have been recorded to date on Farming's demonstration gardens--a much higher number than have been found in similar agricultural projects to date--and several key native bee pollinators have been recorded regularly visiting crop flowers (Bombus vosnesenskii, Bombus melanopygus, Xylocopa varipuncta, 2 Ceratina spp., 4 Halictid spp., and several Osmia spp.).Further, each plant type has predictable taxonomic groups of visiting bees (Frankie et al. 2009a). A database of ~7,000 frequency counts was used to generate this pattern. Predictable bee-flower relationships allows us to select a sequence of highly attractive plants that match the seasonal progression of native bees, thus maximizing pollination opportunities (Wojcik et al. 2008; Pawelek et al. 2009, 2010; Frankie et al. 2009a).Based on these findings, habitat development will focus on host plants with flowering times that synchronize with specific crop types, as well as nesting materials that support associated native bees. Habitats will be planted in 3 configurations: 1) traditional hedgerows (Earnshaw 2004, Hannon and Sisk 2009); 2) ephemeral open patches in orchards; and 3) permanent open areas set aside specifically for bee plants.Habitat monitoring will occur during the 3 phases of the growing season (late March to early April, mid-May to early June, and mid- to late July) on control and treatment sites. Methods include pan trapping, a standard passive technique that assesses diversity and abundance of bee species in a given area. Fifteen 6 oz. plastic pans, alternating between fluorescent blue, fluorescent yellow and plain white, will be spread 8m apart in sunny locations along a linear transect. Each pan is filled with a dilute solution of soap water, which kills bees upon contact, and left out between 10AM and 2PM. Passive collections will be complemented by aerial net collections, taking place during the same time period, from surrounding flowering plants. These records are important as many larger bee species are not attracted to pans, and host flower visits can be recorded. Collected bees will be mounted, and identifications will be made by Research Assistant Jaime Pawelek and Dr. Robbin Thorp (UCD) and entered into a digital Access database.Frequency (visitation) counts, a standard method of gathering data on the diversity and abundance of bees visiting specific flower types (Frankie et al. 2009, 2013), as well as the resources they collect (pollen and nectar), will also be employed. They allow us to predict what bees will visit which flowers at what frequency, and at what times of year. We have used the method extensively in our 14-year California-wide survey of urban areas and in Costa Rica (Frankie et al. 2013).. Counts are made on flowering patches of 1m2 in both constructed habitat and crops in treatment and control sites. Patches are observed for 3 minutes and bees making contact with the flower's reproductive parts are recorded. Aerial collections will be made to identify visiting bees to species level. Mark-recapture and other behavioral studies will be employed as well to evaluate bee movement between plants.These monitoring efforts will be labor-intensive. The data collected will be delivered to Dr. Mark Rizzardi (Humboldt State University), who will do the statistical analysis.CA Statewide Survey; Costa Rican Survey:We will continue to work on the CA and Costa Rican surveys of bee-flower relations. This basic information is being used in the "Farming" project in NorCal and SoCal.At the end of the project period, the data will be collected into a series of prescriptive treatments that will help farmers begin to evaluate their farming operations, determine how bee farming might be best integrated, and measure the potential costs and benefits specific to their farms.Economic Analysis:Researchers have just begun to demonstrate that native bees measurably enhance crop yields (Garibaldi et al. 2013) and can offer economic advantage. However, far more research on diverse crops, in diverse regions and farming systems, is required to demonstrate significant economic impact. Further, our experience with Brentwood farmers indicates that, without considerable guidance and assistance, most farmers would be unlikely to adopt native bee habitat farming over the long term.Initial interviews with farmers have thus worked to understand how the farming business in Brentwood is structured and how decisions are made, such as adoption of conservation strategies like native bee farming, or reducing pesticide applications to improve pollination. Farm practices and business decisions discussed included: land costs; crop yields; commodity prices; taxes and tax strategies; governing laws; operational costs; management regimes; financial analyses such as reinvestment, and return on investment; crop insurance; and the threat of colony collapse disorder. By capturing data that is meaningful to the farmers, interviews will also help to incentivize them to continue providing useful information.Over the next 3-5 years, Ms. Marylee Guinon will continue to conduct interviews with farmers, gauging shifts in perceptions over time as the project proceeds. Significant follow-up will be required to collect crop yield and financial data as we have learned from experience that, despite good intentions, farmers have little time to collect such data and often forget to deliver it. The goal is to impart a "vision" of the eventual integration of native bee farming into these operations, and measure its costs and benefits, both quantified and perceived.Pollinator TSP Pilot Program:Our experiences in Brentwood in the past 4 years suggest that, despite farmers' growing concern about crop pollination - and resulting interest in native bees - many small farmers do not have the time nor the expertise to install and manage native bee habitat. During the course of the project period, Dr. Frankie and Ms. Guinon will review and provide detailed, region-specific recommendations for NRCS' current job criteria for the TSP position, and develop, conduct, and evaluate an in-depth training program for the position.Dr. Frankie and Ms. Guinon will select and interview potential candidates for the pilot program. We have already identified several candidates from the Association of Applied Entomologists, Certified Crop Advisors, and several landscape architects who are providing consultations for pollinator habitat gardens. Interviews will explore their interest in the program, as well as their knowledge to determine what kinds of training might be needed to enable them to effectively work with farmers to install and manage habitats.

Progress 10/01/16 to 09/30/17

Target Audience:I address two major audiences with my research and outreach projects. The first is the "Other Scientists" group. The second is the composite of government funding agencies (USDA), commodity groups (eg. Ag growers in NorCal and SoCal), and a variety of NGOs. I address two major audiences with my research and outreach projects. The first is the "Other Scientists" group. I reach them through scientific publicatins and through several professional presentations that I or my lab assistants gave during the reporting period. They are listed in the "Other Products" section of this report. The second audience is a composite of government funding agencies (eg. USDA); commodity groups (eg. Ag growers in NorCal and SoCal); and a variety of NGOs, local schools, botanic gardens, garden clubs, and various special event days. A list of outreach activities associated with each group is present later in the "Other Products" section of the report. Changes/Problems:One of our biggest challenges has been identifying our collected bee specimens. We identify all of our bees down to the species level which is very time consuming work. Only a select few people are capable of this taxonomic work in California. In the fall of 2016 we lost our taxonomist until April of 2017. We currently have a single bee taxonomist identifying specimens one day a week.We collected so many bees in 2017 that we are currently back logged with specimens in various stages of processing. We have made arrangements with our taxonomist to identify and log specimens throughout 2018. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Several undergraduates, recent graduates, and lab assistants receive ongoing training during the course of the research projects. Opportunities are offered to each person to do field and/or lab work. The students are eager to do both lab and field work. In general, when opportunities arise, announcements are made on a regular basis to determine who will be assigned to given projects. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Research is disseminated through scientific papers - peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed. We also disseminate during presentations at scientific meetings. Finally, we invest considerable time in communicating with local groups through invited local presentations. Overall, everyone in the lab is asked to do some outreach during the year. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

What was accomplished under these goals? Goal 1. Establish native bee habitat in NorCal and SoCal. Diverse, native bee habitat gardens were established in farms in both NorCal (Brentwood) and SoCal (Ventura and vicinity). In Brentwood, four farms had gardens, and each of these had 22 installed bee plant species, consisting of native and nonnative ornamentals, known to be attractive to bees from our earlier CA survey (see Goal 5). Four different Brentwood farms were designated as control farms (no added plants) for comparisons. In Ventura, three avocado farms had installed bee gardens and three were designated as control farms (no plants added). Plants selected for both areas of the state were mostly perennials, were drought tolerant, and were easy to secure from local nurseries. Notes: Despite only modest flowering recorded in the first year in most farms, flowering increased noticeably from year 2 onward, and this resulted in substantial increases in pollen and nectar. Goal 2. Monitor (sample) native bees and honey bees in treatment and control farms in NorCal and SoCal. Standardized sampling methods were used to monitor bees in all farm sites in NorCal (8) and SoCal (6). All collections were databased at UC Berkeley where they are currently stored. Once the study is completed, they will be permanently deposited in the UC Berkeley Essig Museum of Entomology. Significant discoveries were made in both areas. In NorCal, at least 144 bee species were collected from 2010-2016 (2017 is a work I progress). The greatest number of bee species and abundance levels were found at farms closer to a natural creek and urban areas, suggesting a relationship between urban and Ag environments. Twenty-three native bee species (of the 144) were found visiting diverse crop flowers at levels that provided supplemental pollination to honey bees. In SoCal, approximately 120 bee species have been taken from the avocado orchards. (More IDs are scheduled for 2018). The most significant finding was that 12 species of native bees and several fly and wasp species are regular visitors of the avocado flowers and are believed to play a role in the pollination of the flowers along with honey bees. Goal 3. Conduct business/economic analysis of factors that are considered important in farming with native bees. Over the last year and earlier, we conducted several interviews with our project growers in NorCal and SoCal to gather information on how they make business decisions, and how some of these relate or could relate to farming with native bees (and with honey bees). The ultimate goal of the interviews is to determine under what conditions farmers would come to depend more on native bees along with honey bees (Hbs) for pollination services of the crop plants. Responses to this ultimate goal were variable. Some said if Hbs kept declining they would invest more in native bees. Some said that they would probably grow crops that don't need bees, or would give up altogether. Some told us that our research results to date have caused them to observe native bees in action along with Hbs, and they are now convinced that native bees are doing some of the pollination of crop flowers We continue to discuss our research findings with growers, and they keep asking questions, which we respond to, or to which we begin planning new research. Finally, a report of all our interview work is available on request. Goal 4. Pilot project: Evaluate skills to become a Technical Service Provider (TSP) for using native bees in Ag. In this goal we evaluated our own skills in providing a service in guiding farmers in the use of native bees, which involves bee identification and knowing which plants should be used to construct bee habitat. We also worked with one student to evaluate the skills that such a person would need. Overall, we determined that the TSP person could be either a bee person or a plant person, but rarely both. Thus, for this type of specialized bee work, we suggest that two people conduct the work on a practical basis; one with horticultural expertise and one with entomological (bee and wasp) expertise. Goal 5. Continued statewide survey of native bees and host flowers in urban gardens in 5 cities: Chico, Sonoma, Bishop, Camarillo, and Palm Springs. Two to four visits were made to each of the 5 cities to gather bee-flower information. These collections are currently being identified to the species level by our bee taxonomist. Results of this work provide more information on which host plants are most attractive and under which environmental conditions. This becomes important in making plant selections in coastal vs. inland conditions for bee habitat gardens. Some plants do better in one environment verse another, and this is especially the case for NorCal conditions where there is more rainfall compared to SoCal where drought conditions can be more extreme. Goal 6. Monitor native bees on native plants in urban and wild areas of Costa Rica as a model for similar work in California. We have done several years of monitoring work in Costa Rica on this question, and then we published a paper on the urban findings in 2013. We have done a comparative study on native bees in urban vs. wild Costa Rica from 2014-2017 that is almost ready for submission for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. These experiences are being expanded into publication of 2 Costa Rican bee books; one in Spanish to be published by the University of Costa Rica, and the second one on English by Cornell University Press. Each book will be ~350 pages, and each will be written for everyday people in easily understood language (like our CA bee book by Heyday Books, 2014). Finally, the Costa Rican experience is being transferred to an ongoing study in CA in Brentwood where we are comparing bees of a large urban area with bees in an Ag. area. Goal 7. Outreach bee findings to several audiences in California. We regularly outreach our findings and ideas to several different audiences in Califronia, which include local schools, garden clubs, native plant societis, scientific groups, NGOs, etc. We currently make about 25 presentations each year, which has become our maximum number. The following provides a list of the categories and number of presentations: Tabling/exhibits: 3 Conferences: 3 Talks: 15 Workshops: 2 Classroom visits: 3 Total: 26 Total attendees: (estimate) 1,500


  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Under Review Year Published: 2017 Citation: Frankie, G.W., Leon Guerrero, S.S., Pawelek, J.C.,Thorp, R.W., Rizzardi, M.A., Jadallah, C.C., Smith-Pardo, A., Lyons, A., Feng, I.C., Chase, M.H. (2017). Farming with Native Bees in California. (Submitted for review in peer-reviewed journal).
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Under Review Year Published: 2017 Citation: Frankie, G.W., Jadallah, C.C., Feng, I.C., Pawelek, J.C., Thorp, R.W., Rizzardi, M.A., Chase, M.H. (2017). Native and non-native plants attract diverse bees to urban gardens in California. (Submitted for review in peer-reviewed journal).
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Under Review Year Published: 2017 Citation: Frankie, G.W., Pawelek, J.C., Leon Guerrero, S.S., Thorp, R.W., Coville, R.E., Rizzardi, M.A., Arrowsmith, S., Chase, M.H. (2017). Citizen Monitoring of Bees in Urban Sonoma, California. (Submitted for review in peer-reviewed journal).
  • Type: Other Status: Published Year Published: 2017 Citation: Jadallah, C.C., Frankie, G.W., Thorp, R.W., Coville, R.E., Leon Guerrero, S.S., Feng, I.C. (2017). Common Bees in California Gardens. UC ANR Publishing.

Progress 10/01/15 to 09/30/16

Target Audience: Elementary and middle school students Undergraduates Scientists and researchers Farmers, farm workers, and agricultural professionals Agency staff Naturalists and specialty groups General public Changes/Problems:Weather patterns continued to be a challenge: in a normal year, we would install habitat in November, but rains may make this difficult. The early rains in October, followed by warm weather, has also caused out-of-season blooming of a number of our habitat plants, such as Phacelia and Ceanothus, which may impact spring blooming. These 2 plants are among our most important habitat plants as they draw a high diversity of bee species. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? See Item 3 under Accomplishments for information on TSP program. Through undergraduate research mentoring programs, we train approximately 6students within the UC system on bee-plant relationships, native bee ecology, plant identificaiton and research methods. We have around 5 citizen volunteers who we train in specimen collections and processing, habitat development and maintenance, and outreach. During the Annual Sonoma Bee Count, we train 10 citizen scientists in specimen collections and processing, plant identifications, and native bee ecology. We havetaught a 5-day workshop sponsored by the Jepson Herbarium at the UC Hastings Natural History Reserve. This course trains between 18-20 individuals including students, researchers, habitat gardeners, and botanic garden directors in bee-flower relationships, bee photography, and bee identifications. In 2016, the P.I. was a guest lecturer during a 10-week course for the California Naturalist Certification Program. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?We reached over 2,100 people across California through 26 presentations and garden tours, 2 conferences and 6 informational exhibits. The Technology Diffusion Modules were reviewed by agency, nonprofit, and farmer partners, all of whom expressed considerable interest and enthusiasm in the product. Among them was State Biologist Thomas Moore, who was thrilled with the final product. In our meeting early this month, we discussed a number of possibilities for broad scale distribution, and he has already begun to promote them among agencies with which he works as an important model for other conservation practice outreach tools. We are currently working on a print Tool Kit manual, which provides structured activities that help farmers adapt the program to their specific operations. This Tool Kit will also serve as a supplement to the NRCS Technical Field Guide for native bee farming that has already been produced. Membership to our online newsletter continues to grow - we now have almost 1,200 subscribers who receive project information on a bi-monthly basis (see attached examples). Our findings are also disseminated via our Facebook page to over 1,200 members. A draft of our flip booklet field guide has been completed and will be sent out for preliminary feedback to project partners Drs. Robbin Thorp and Rollin Coville. A final draft will be completed by year-end, and submitted to the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources for peer review. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?During the next reporting period we plant to: Continue monitoring and enhancing native bee habitat in agriculutral areas Publish a peer-reviewed flip-booklet field guide to the common native bees of CA Travel to Costa Rica for fieldwork Continue TSP mentorship program Publish ecological and socio-economic results in peer-reviewed journals

What was accomplished under these goals? Habitat development has taken an exciting turn as prescriptive treatments have now been completed for berries and cherries. The treatments include habitat compositions that synchronize with crop flowering, and target specific wild bee species that appear to be visiting crop flowers at higher frequencies. The major monitoring sessions occurred during the last project period, in early spring, as this is the season in which most of our target crops flower. Since April, occasional, casual monitoring continues on crop flowers (where available), weeds and, primarily, habitat flowers. The goal of ongoing monitoring is to record bee diversity, abundance and activity outside of the main flowering season. It is critical to track flight seasons of key bee pollinators, and whether habitats can sustain them if they continue to collect resources beyond the crop flowering season. Some bee species, such as Melissodes sp. emerge in the summer and, while they do not pollinate our spring crops, may be important pollinators for some summer crops. Tracking their flight seasons may thus be useful for future studies. This data may also become significant if changing weather patterns impact synchronicity between bee flight and flowering seasons - evidence of which we have already begun to collect. Finally, beyond ensuring stable crop pollination, our habitats are a critical conservation practice that is intended to increase overall diversity and protect declining native bee species - a goal shared by our conservation-minded farmers. Some comparative sampling has also been conducted in nearby urban areas, and in natural areas such as Mt. Diablo. Many of the same species occurring on farm sites have been recorded on landscaped flowering plants on median strips and in parks. Among them, Megachile rotundata, an important non-native bee species that is managed for alfalfa pollination. This initial data indicates that urban areas may be important to creating connectivity across the landscape, supporting bees and benefitting farms that require bee pollination. Socio-economic findings included: Small farmers and farm operations are unique and change over time Farmers are constantly responding to a large number of pressures, and are willing to pay experts to help them with support/projects they deem important/valuable Many farmers do not perceive inadequate crop pollination as an immediate threat to their farms, which is a prime motivator for implementing new management practices Financial benefit is important but often not the sole motivating factor; it is balanced with other values, which farmers prioritize differently "Financial benefit" is not necessarily defined strictly by monetary compensation - qualityof product emerged as a common and important motivator Perceiving impact/benefit from a conservation practice ("empirical evidence") plays a powerful role in initial buy-in and adoption Building relationships between farmers and supporting agencies/experts is essential 4. We have launched our Pollinator TSP Pilot Program this semester with 1 UC Berkeley undergraduate student. This 18-month program involves intensive training, which follows the format of the Technology Diffusion Modules. The trainee is assigned 1 module per week, with supplemental reading where appropriate. Weekly meetings with the Program Lead review topics from the previous week, as well as topics, readings and hands-on activities for the coming week. Questions and requests for more information are noted, and will be used to revise and augment the syllabus. Fall Semester has focused on basics of native bee farming, including designing and implementing habitats. Applied, on-the-ground learning is central to the program, and the trainee is using the new prescriptive treatment for cherries to develop a habitat plan that reinvigorates an old hedgerow that has not been maintained at Frog Hollow Farm. The trainee has already made 3 field visits, and has met with Farmer Al Courchesne. She will present the plan to Al for his approval by the end of this month (November), with the goal of implementing the plan by earlyDecember. Spring Semester will focus on designing and implementing a monitoring protocol for the installed habitat. By the end of the program, the trainee will have designed and monitored at least 2 habitats, and should qualify for the TSP Pollinator Habitat position. She will graduate from UC Berkeley by the end of the project, and plans to apply for the position in Spring 2018. 5. Collections were made in Sonoma and Camarillo during the main flowering seasons. 6. Collections were made in Costa Rica during the field season in February. 7. See section on ressult dissemination below.


  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2016 Citation: Leon Guerrero, S.S., M.H. Schindler, G.W. Frankie, and M. Guinon. Farming for Native Bees Technology Transfer: a step-by-step guide for understanding, envisioning, designing, installing and maintaining wild bee habitats that contribute significantly to crop pollination. In Proceedings of 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium, Asilomar, CA, January 2016
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2017 Citation: Hall, D.M., Camilo, G.R., Tonietto, R.K., Ollerton, J., Ahrn�, K., Arduser, M.,Ascher, J.S., Baldock, K.C.R., Fowler, R.E., Frankie, G.W., Goulson, D., Gunnarsson, B., Hanley, M.E., Jackson, J.I., Langellotto, G., Lowenstein, D., Minor, E.S., Philpott, S.M., Potts, S.G., Sirohi, M.H., Spevak, E.M., Stone, G., Threlfall, C., 2017. The city as a refuge for insect pollinators. Conservation Biology. 31(1).
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2016 Citation: Johnson, Steven, M. More, F. Amorim, W. Haber, G. Frankie, D. Stanley, A. Cocucci, and R. Raguso. 2016. The long and the short of it: a global analysis of hawkmoth pollination niches and interactions networks. Journal of Functional Ecology. 31:101 115.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2016 Citation: Frankie, Gordon. 2016. Science, Education and On-the-Groudn Conservation to Protect Native Bees. 2016 International Congress of Entomology, Orland, FL. September 2016 (Abstract).

Progress 10/23/14 to 09/30/15

Target Audience:These are audiences we have worked with and expect to work with in this project period: 1. Farm Owners/Managers: Our farm cooperators in Brentwood and Ventura; and farm organizations such as SoCAl Avocado Society. 2. Farm Workers: At Brentwood and Ventura. Some info and talks will be given in Spanish. 3. School Kids: Local groups in Brentwood, Ventura, and Costa Rica (in Spanish with collaboration of cooperators). 4. California Native Plant Society: Members at coutny and state meetings. 5. Goverment Agency People: USDA-NRCS personnel; County governmentagencies; CA State Biologist, Davis. 6. Gardeners and Naturalists: Garden clubs and citizen naturalists. 7. UC Master Gardeners: We expect to work with this audience on occasion. 8. Botanic Garden Personnel: Botanic garden people throughout the state, esp. thorugh our statewide survey of urban bees and their flowers. 9. UC Coop. Extension Personnel: We have and will work in field with UC Coop. Ext. 10. UC County Farm Advisors: We have and will work in the field with UC Farm Advisors. 11. Agricultural and Restoration Ecologists: Audiences wanting to establish pollinator habitat in Aga nd urban areas. 12. Academics: Individuals interest is sustainable Ag, biodiversity, conservation, and pollinators. 13. Journalists insteerested in bees, sustainable, agriculture, climate change. Changes/Problems:One of our farm partners, Ron Enos, recently changed careers, giving up the farmland he had been leasing. Fortunately, Dwelley Farms has taken over the land for hte remainder of the lease (at least one year). The Enos Farm consisted of fairly diverse row crops (20 crops). These have been replaced with beans and peppers. This crop conversion appears to have dramatically impacted native bee populations, with major declines in bee activity during the last few rounds of monitoring. Furhter monitoring will be required to determine if this is a temporary or long-term iompact. It does provide an important opportunity to observe impacts on pollinator communities of crop concersions and land use changes. Another setback was the removal of the berry crops at Dwelley Farmwhere we had been conducting our study onCeratinaspp. Acocrding to farmer Patrick, Johnston, our primary contact, the crop had been in decline for the past several years due to poor soil helath. The area was originally covered with sandy hills that were removed and replaced with fill soil. The decesion to remove the crop was made by one of the three partners while Patrick was out of town. This decision highlights a major management issue that may impact conservation measures: Decisions are often dispersed among owners, farmers and farm workers, not all of whom may be fully informed or fully invested in the project. Fortunatley, the three Dwelley farmers have left several long rows of berry plants between orchards where we may continue theCeratinastudy next season. The drought is also an ongoing challege, as farmers have had to cut back on water supply to the habitats. Seeded wildlfower seeds from the last several years have not germinated. We hope that the El Nino rains will bring a flush of wildflowers for the coming 2016 season. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Through undergraduate research mentoring programs, we train approximately8 students within the UC system on bee-plant relationships, native bee ecology, plant identificaiton and research methods. Additionally, we have around 5 citizen volunteers who we train in specimen collections and processing, habitat development and maintenance, and outreach. During the Annual Sonoma Bee Count, we train 10 citizen scientistsin specimen collections and processing, plant identifications, and native bee ecology. We have also taught a 5-day workshop sponsored by the Jepson Herbariumat the UC Hastings Natural History Reserve. This course trains between 18-20 individuals including students, researchers, habitat gardeners, and botanic garden directors in bee-flower relationships, bee photography, and bee identifications. In 2015, the P.I. was a guest lecturer during a 10-week coursefor the California Naturalist Certification Program. He is scheduled to give two lectures in April for the 2016 certification program. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Outreach and educational work during this project period far exceeded expectations. Our plan was to give at least 20 presentations per year. During the project period we gave 23presentations and 11garden tours providing general informaiton on native bees and resultsfrom our various projects to an estimated 3,200 people across California and beyond. We also offered informational exhibits at 4events and were interviewed on 3radio shows (KSRO Sonoma County and KZYX Mendocino Public Radio). A total of 2hands-on workshops were proposed per project year- we have gave 6from 2014-2015. Highlights included: An educational seminar for the Pesticide Applicators Profesisonal Association Talks to various Audubon and Califonria Native Plant Society Chapters Guest lectures to Landscape Architecture studentsat Merritt College and UC Berkeley Informational tables at the East Bay Regional Parks' Sunol Widlfower Festival and Coyote Hills Bird & Butterfly Festival A workshop for the American River Conservancy's California Naturalist Course Presentations given at major conferences during this project period include the Califronia Native Plant Society's 2015 Conservation Conference, where we gave a 5-minute "lightening talk" to the entire auduience of 1,000 as well as a longer session talk to a full room of 130 people, and the Centennial Meeting of the Ecological Society of America.Presentations were also given at the following major conferences: the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources Joint Strategic Initiatives Conference, andthe Annual North American Pollinator Protection Campaign Conference. Copies of the recently published book,California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardneers and Naturalists,have been distributed to farm and urbanpartners. The publicaiton has been extremely well received, and is in its second printing. We have also developed an online newsletter containing project updates that is sent out to approximately 800 subscribers on a bi-monthly basis. We also disseminate project results through our website and facebook pages (+1,000 likes). What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

What was accomplished under these goals? High quality native bee habitats have been installed at 3 farms in Brentwood, Contra Costa Co., CA and 3 farmsin Ventura Co., CA. Each habitat is comprised of approximately 45 different plant types and between 100-400 individuals plants depending on the age of the plantings.Habitats continue to be redifined as we identify and learn more about target native bee speices and their floral preferences as well as diverse farming operations. We have made modifications to established habitat (from 2012-2014 project work) at Dwelley Farm (Brentwood)to targetCeratinaspeices, which have been found in abundance on berry flowers, by adding their preferred floral hosts such as Erigeron glaucus, Perovskia atriplicifolia, andSalvia'Dara's Choice'. During the project period, we discoveredCeratinaspecies nesting in prunedSalvia, Perovskia atriplicifolia,and berry stems and have since taken steps to increase opprotunities for nesting using those resources. Brentwood, CA--Monitoring at all farms has been completed for the 2014-2015 season. Over 200 frequency counts of honey bees and native bees were conducted on berries at Dwelley farm and over 250 counts on cherries at Wolfe and Frog Hollow. These counts are key to identifying target native bee pollinators for specific crops, as they will allow us to compare the frequency of visits of all bee species, as well as some other benficial insect visitors, to crop flowers.Ceratinaspecies had already emerged as one of the top pollinators for berries, and these additional counts will help to establish just how important they are relative to other species, including honey bees. Over 800 specimens collected in 2014 have been identified for Frog Hollow, Dwelley, Wolfe, and Tachella farms, uncovering 15 new speices on the Brentwood farms.Ventura Co., CA--A second year of baseline data was collected on McGrath Family Farm and James Lloyd-Butler LLC, and a first year of data was collected at Ellwood Canyon Farms. Collections were extremely sparse and we expect that low abundance and diversity of species were, in part, a result of the severe ongoing drought. In April 2015, the region was hit by late spring rains, and abundance and diversity in the pan traps increased substantially at all sites. Significantly, there was not an increase in flowering (crop and weeds), which suggests that the presence of water triggers emergence for some bee species. Our milestone this year was to conduct interviews with our farm parnters to shed light on farm operations, and how these influence decision-making, especially as it relates to adoption of conservation practices like farming for native bees. The interview questions dive deep on farmer perspectives of values and motivations, farm operations and managment, decision-making, variables affecting crops and crop yields, importance of and risks to pollination services, and alternatives to honey bee pollination.We completed 2-hour interviews with each of our partner farmers in Brentwood and with two Ventura farmers. The interviews have far exceeded our expectations in terms of the information provided and will offer key information for the economic analysis. A key objective of the past project period was to begin developing a set of job criteria for a TSP based on a review of the FY15 guidance for Practice 146-Pollinator Habitat Enhancement Plan, as well as the NRCS Techincal Service Providers (TSP) webpage. We have foundthePlanto be quite thorough and very much in line with our own process for designing and implementing native bee farming. What has arisen as a central concern as we gather more information about the TSP program is not the lack of information, resources, trainingsand references for would-be TSPs, but rather, the number of TSPs available to assist farmers in integrating native bee farming into their operations. There are currently only 3 TSPs in California who are certified to offer support for farms with this important conservation measure (and only 1 is certified for organic operations). Collections were made once a month between the main bee season (March-September). Collections from Bishop have added several new species to the urban database, continued collections are critical for filling a current gap in knowledge about pollinators in a key California ecosystem. Abundance and diversity of native bees in these 5 cities have remained relatively high. We attribute this to floral resources remaining abundant in urban regions because residents still water their gardens despite the 4 year drought. Meanwhile agricultural and wild areas have either cut back or not recieved substantial water or rain, so resources are scarce. We have done a year's worth of standardized nesting studies on cavity-nesting species in urban vs wild areas in NW CR. Work was done as a first year study to determine how nesting differs in wild vs urban. Early results indicate the most nesting occurs outside of the city even though the same bee species regularly come into urban areas to forage. These results also provide insight on what we can expect in the CA study that is underway in the Ag area of Brentwood. The second part of the CR work is outreach on native bees to local schools in the central part of the country. The work is a collaboration between the UCB Urban Bee Lab and a new local NGO in Costa Rica. The work consisted of mostly outreaching through a videoconferencing network that exists in almost all parts of the country. Our main contact person, Ana Chassoul, notes that she has reached almost 5,000 children through the conferencing and through direct school visits with students and teachers. This achievement has gained her considerable attention and the native bees of CR as well. She is now in demand for giving more talks and for working with local large supermarkets to extend native bee knowledge to shoppers. The work will be patterned after the Whole Foods model where the stores in the US have shown what happens to the produce supply in stores with and without pollinators, and esp. bees. See section on disseminating project results below for details.


  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2015 Citation: Pawelek, J.C., G.W. Frankie, K. Frey, S.S. Leon Guerrero, and M.H. Schindler. 2015. California Bee-Friendly Garden Recipes. UC Agricultural and Natural Resources. Publication 8518.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2015 Citation: Frankie, G., J. Pawelek, S. Leon Guerrero, and M. Schindler. 2015. Native bee outreach in California botanic gardens. Contribution to California Native Plant Society: 2015 CNPS Conservation Conference, San Jose, CA, January 2015 (abstract).
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2015 Citation: Pawelek, J., G. Frankie, S. Leon Guerrero, and R. Thorp. 2015. The value of using both native and non-native plants to attract diverse bees in an urban landscape. Contribution to California Native Plant Society: 2015 CNPS Conservation Conference, San Jose, CA, January 2015.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2015 Citation: Frankie, G., A. Chassoul, J. Pawelek, S. Leon Guerrero, R. Coville, and S.B. Vinson. 2015. Extending user-friendly scientific information to local audiences in Tropical Costa Rica: Where to begin. Contribution to the Ecological Society of America: 2015 ESA Annual Meeting: Ecological Science at the Frontier, Baltimore, MD, August 2015.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2015 Citation: Frankie, G. 2015. The Latest on Native Bees: Notes from the Urban Bee Lab. Contribution to the 80th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference: Wildlife Conservation in Cities and Suburbs, Omaha, NE, March 2015.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2015 Citation: Frankie, G.W., S. Leon Guerrero, J. Pawelek, R. Thorp, M. Schindler, R. Coville, M. Rizzardi, and M. Guinon. Pending. Bees, Flowers, and People in Urban-Agricultural-Wildland Interfaces. Transactions of the 80th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Omaha, NE, March 2015.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2015 Citation: G.W. Frankie. 2015. Wild Native Bees Attracted to Constructed Diverse Agro Ecosystems for Pollination Services. Contribution to the 2015 ANR Joint Strategic Initiatives Conference, Sacramento, CA, October 2015.