Study

Effects of habitat management on vegetation and above-ground nesting bees and wasps of orchard meadows in central Europe

  • Published source details Steffan-Dewenter I. & Leschke K. (2003) Effects of habitat management on vegetation and above-ground nesting bees and wasps of orchard meadows in central Europe. Biodiversity and Conservation, 12, 1953-1968.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Maintain traditional orchards

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Provide nest boxes for bees (solitary bees or bumblebees)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Provide artificial nest sites for solitary bees

Action Link
Bee Conservation
  1. Maintain traditional orchards

    A replicated, controlled site comparison study in 1998 and 1999 of 45 orchard meadows in Lower Saxony, Germany (Steffan-Dewenter & Leschke 2003) found that plant species richness was higher on mown meadows than grazed or abandoned meadows, but that numbers of species and brood cells of bees and wasps (Hymenoptera) did not differ. A significantly higher number of plant species was found on mown (24) than abandoned meadows (18), grazed meadows had intermediate numbers (22). A similar trend was found for grasses (8 species vs 5), but not herbs (16 vs 12). Plant height was higher on abandoned meadows (100 cm), than mown meadows (85 cm) and grazed meadows (55 cm). Vegetation cover did not differ significantly between management regimes. The number of species or brood cells for all species, or separately for bees (Apidae), potter wasps (Eumenidae) or sphecid wasps (Sphecidae) did not differ between treatments. However, the abundance of sphecid wasps was significantly higher on abandoned meadows (180 brood cells) than grazed (55) or mown (60) meadows. There was no significant difference in species richness of natural enemies or the rate of parasitism of bees and wasps between management types. Orchards were either mown once or twice a year, grazed (usually by sheep) or had no management for at least five years. Vegetation was sampled on a central plot of 25 m within each site from June-July 1998. Nesting traps (4/location) were set up at regular distances at each site from April-September, 1998 and 1999.

     

  2. Provide nest boxes for bees (solitary bees or bumblebees)

    A replicated study from 1998 to 1999 in 45 orchard meadows in central Germany (Steffan-Dewenter & Leschke 2003) recorded 17,278 cells from 13 species of solitary bee (Apidae) using 540 reed stem nest boxes. Orchards were either mown once or twice a year, grazed (usually by sheep) or had no management for at least 5 years. In each orchard, three wooden posts (1.5 m height, 5-7 cm diameter), each with four 'nesting traps' (total of 540 traps), were set up at regular distances from April to September in 1998 and 1999. The traps comprised 150-180, 20 cm-long common reed Phragmites australis stem sections, packed into 10.5 cm diameter plastic tubes. Traps were collected at the end of September and bees and wasps identified to genus, or species, where possible, as were parasitoids and parasites of stored food.

     

  3. Provide artificial nest sites for solitary bees

    From 1998-1999, Steffan-Dewenter & Leschke (2003) recorded 17,278 cells from 13 species of solitary bee using 540 reed stem nest boxes placed in 45 orchard meadows in central Germany.

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