Iowa college’s efforts to attract more bees are ‘working’ after student discovery

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(Gray News) – Students at a private college in Iowa have caused a stir after identifying seven new species of bees in the state, suggesting 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 studying bee diversity as part of a study to provide insight into how the college can “further encourage these native pollinators. on the campus “.

In a statement, the college said seven of 55 bee species found living on the college campus have never been recorded in Iowa.

All seven bee species are recorded in other parts of the country.

Kirk Larsen, professor of biology and educational advisor for the project, said it was important to preserve and protect the diversity of the bee population.

“They are really important to us as pollinators for our crops and our food. A third of all the food we eat involves some pollinator and most of them are bees,” he said in the statement.

Luther College is affiliated with the Bee Campus USA program. The goal of the program is to help secure a better future for pollinators, as well as their habitats and the planet as a whole.

Cullen and Coleman record which plants attract which species of bees as part of their research, the college said. The results are used to help make recommendations to the field team on what to plant so the bees are attracted to the campus and able to thrive.

The discovery of the new bee species in Iowa suggests that Luther College’s planting of more native flowers to attract pollinators is working, according to the college.

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