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Team Studies Soils to Identify Best Wild Bee Habitat

A team from Oregon State University published the results of its work on interactions between ground-nesting bees and soils in Soil Science Society of America Journal. Ground-nesting bees can be important crop pollinators, but little is known about the best soil habitats for them. This study explored the physical and chemical properties of soils collected from active bee and sand nest wasp sites in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. This study found that active nesting sites were present in locations with little to no rock cover and low vegetation. Nesting sites were found in areas with low organic matter coverage, independent of land slope and aspect. The emergence holes remained open throughout the year. Study leader Rebecca Lybrand explained, “Soil scientists and entomologists can partner with growers to identify soil habitats that support and attract more of these pollinators to agricultural lands. Improving our understanding of the connections between agriculture and the soils that bees, crops, and living organisms rely on to survive is important. Our research also provided a framework for studying ground-nesting organisms—an area of soil science that is underrepresented.”