NEW PAPER OUT! A checklist of South Dakota bumble bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae)

1st pub for 2023 just came out in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research! This was a lovely collaboration between SDSU entomologists (Abigail Martens and Paul Johnson) and our bee group at USDA-ARS NCARL (Eric Beckendorf, Louis Hesler, Jesse Daniels, and myself). We compiled specimen and literature records for bumble bees collected over the past 130 years across South Dakota to create the first updated checklist in almost a century. In doing so, we found there have been at least 29 species in the state with ample opportunity to study both western and eastern bumble bees. We highlight additional areas that desperately need surveying, which is an important first step for any long term monitoring program. For an overall summary, the abstract sums up the results nicely…

“Several bumble bee species (Bombus Latreille) are declining and efforts to conserve populations will be strengthened by an improved knowledge of their geographic distribution. Knowledge gaps exist, however, especially in central portions of North America. Here we report 29 species of bumble bees from South Dakota in the north-central USA, based on 130 years of records from 1891 to 2021. Specimens or observations were available for >90% of the 66 counties, though they were not distributed evenly as most records came from Pennington, Lawrence, Custer, Brookings, and Day Counties. The five most commonly collected or reported bumble bee species were B. griseocollis (54 counties), B. pensylvanicus (41 counties), B. fervidus (39 counties), B. huntii (27 counties), and B. bimaculatus (25 counties). Twenty species were recorded from 10 or fewer counties. Despite differences in occurrence, 66% of the Bombus species in South Dakota were collected or observed since 2020, including six of the nine species of conservation concern (B. fraternus, B. pensylvanicus, B. fervidus, B. occidentalis, B. terricola, and B. morrisoni). However, the critically endangered B. affinis, B. variabilis, and B. suckleyi have not been collected or observed for over 50 years. While this checklist is the first for South Dakota bumble bees in nearly 100 years, data are still lacking as ~55% of counties had fewer than five species reported. We suggest future efforts should focus on these under-sampled areas to fill in baseline knowledge of the wild bee fauna towards completing a more holistic view of bumble bee distributions across the Great Plains.”

You can find the full manuscript by [CLICKING HERE].