Bee lecture will be Feb. 23


BYRON – The Byron Forest Preserve District will be hosting the third of its 2020 Winter Lecture Series on Sunday, Feb. 23 starting at 2 p.m. at the Jarrett Prairie Center Museum, 7993 North River Road in Byron.

Isaac Stewart, instructor of Biology at Black Hawk College, will discuss how the work of a dedicated group of researchers put the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species List in January 2017. This was the first bee species from the continental United States that had ever been added to the list. He will explore how it was shown that the rusty patched bumble bee abundance has declined 96 percent in the last 20 years and the implications for pollinator diversity in the future.

Domestic honey bees have dominated the news regarding the pollinator crisis, but native bees remain vital to Illinois’ ecosystems and agriculture. As pollinators, rusty patched bumble bees contribute to our food security and the healthy functioning of our ecosystems. Bumble bees are keystone species in most ecosystems that are necessary not only for native wildflowers reproduction, but also for creating seeds and fruit that feed wildlife. They are often better agricultural pollinators for certain crops than domestic honey bees.

This lecture is free and no advance registration is required to attend. For more information contact the Byron Forest Preserve District at 815 234-8535, Ext. 200. The 2020 Winter Lecture Series is co-sponsored by Exelon Generation Byron Station and the award-winning Jarrett Prairie Center Museum.