Iowa college’s efforts to attract more bees ‘working’ after students’ discovery
(Gray News) – Students at a private college in Iowa caused a buzz after identifying seven new bee species to the state, suggesting that the college’s efforts to attract more pollinators are working.
Emmelyn Cullen and Gwen Coleman, both students at Luther College in Decorah, spent their summer surveying bee diversity as part of a study meant to provide insight on how the college can “encourage more of these native pollinators on campus.”
In a release, the college said seven of the 55 species of bee found living on the college campus have never been recorded in Iowa.
The seven species of bees are recorded in other parts of the country.
Kirk Larsen, a biology professor and faculty advisor for the project, said it’s important to preserve and protect the diverse bee population.
“They are really important to us as pollinators for our crops and our food. One-third of all the food that we eat involves a pollinator of some sort and most of those are bees,” he said in the release.
Luther College is an affiliate with the Bee Campus USA program. The goal of the program is to help ensure a better future for pollinators, as well as their habitats and the planet as a whole.
Cullen and Coleman record which plants attract which bee species as part of their research, the college said. The results are used to help make recommendations to the grounds crew of what to plant so the bees are attracted to the campus and able to thrive.
The discovery of the bee species new to Iowa suggests that Luther College’s planting of more native flowers to attract pollinators is working, according to the college.
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