Diversity, phenology, and host associations of wild bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) in Thunder Bay, Ontario
Master of Science
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
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Although extremely important to the functioning of productive ecosystems, wild bee communities are at risk due habitat loss and agricultural intensification. Wild bee species surveys provide valuable information on the health of wild bee communities, especially in agricultural areas where these bee species are vulnerable; however, many regions are under studied. For example, northwestern Ontario lacks a comprehensive wild bee survey, and many of the species that inhabit this area are unknown. The aim of this study was to inventory wild bee species, the flowers they visit, and their periods of activity in Thunder Bay in northwestern Ontario to fill in gaps in our knowledge of wild bee species that occur in this region, while also investigating the diversity of wild bee communities at three representative flower-rich sites in the area. I collected 64 wild bee species throughout this survey. Twenty-two of these species had not previously been documented in northwestern Ontario, and one (Nomada alpha) is a newly documented species to Canada. Additionally, this study found that at an agricultural site wild bee diversity was the lowest, and wild bee community composition was the most uneven compared to two other sites, supporting evidence that agricultural land use may negatively affect wild bee diversity in this region of Canada.