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Michigan State University, Department of Entomology

This blog is dedicated to the amazingly diverse Michigan bees. Learn about past, current and future research projects related to both managed and wild bees. 


This blog is written and curated by members of the Isaacs Lab at Michigan State University. 


How you can help researchers understand where bumble bees spend the cold months

Bumble bees are an important group of pollinating insects for Michigan agriculture. Bumble bees’ quintessential large, fluffy bodies help them tolerate the chill of Michigan’s spring season...

December 19, 2018

Why protect wild bees in Michigan?

Michigan has an extraordinary 465 known species of bees. All of these bees play different roles in our ecosystem, including pollination of wildflowers and crops! We can thank Michigan’s bees for pollinating crops such as apples, bluebe...

September 3, 2018

In late summer and early fall, yellowjackets (Vespula and Dolichovespula spp.) can be particularly pesky. But to explain why they can be a particular pain (sting pun intended) during this time of year, some yellowjacket background is needed.

Yellowjackets typically bui...

July 11, 2018

If you’ve been keeping up with previous posts on the Great Lakes, Great Bees Blog, you already know that bees are very diverse and also very important for our crops and natural ecosystems. In fact, there are over 20,000 bee species in the world and over 450 different b...

April 30, 2018

Spotted knapweed, or star thistle, Centaurea maculosa, is an invasive flowering plant that was first observed in Michigan in 1911 [2]. As an invasive, it is able to out-compete native species, it is environmentally detrimental, and difficult to extirpate. It can out-co...

April 15, 2018

In the spring, walking along the forest edge of a honey bee hive yard, it is not uncommon to see hundreds of bees all clumping together on a low branch. While it may be a familiar behavior to beekeepers, until last spring I had never seen anything like it.

From a distan...

April 12, 2018

Andrena are a genus of solitary bees commonly called mining bees due to their nesting behaviour. In contrast to the more familiar honey bees, which nest in aerial cavities, mining bees nest directly in the ground. When the spring arrives, look at patches of bare ground...

February 27, 2018

Landscape simplification is bad for bees. As agriculture becomes more widespread, less natural and semi-natural areas remain intact, and fewer valuable foraging and nesting resources are available to wild bees. Most wild bees are solitary, meaning that unlike their soc...

February 6, 2018

Interest in pollinator conservation is growing. Not only within academia, but also in a number of disciplines that deal with land management in one way or another. One common theme that unites many of these individual communities involves supporting bees by increasing...

December 18, 2017

Dr. Rufus Isaacs (Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University) and collaborators are currently working on a USDA-NIFA funded project investigating pollinator health in Michigan. This project came about because of increasing concern over documented declines in honey...

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