The presentation topic for the January 2013 meeting of the Austin chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas is “Bumblebees of Texas” by Michael Warriner.

While most everyone has heard at least something in the news about declining bees, most press coverage has been directed toward the plight of the non-native European honeybee. Very little attention is directed towards native bees, like bumblebees. Over the past few decades a substantial body of research has identified declines in bumblebee populations in Europe and North America.
Bumblebees have gone virtually unstudied in most states in this country despite their critical roles in agriculture and natural ecosystems. In the United States, there is a real need to to assess how their populations are faring and if conservation actions are needed.  We can begin to do this in Texas by simply recording where species occur today and if they still inhabit the same places they did years ago. Helping with this process can be as simple as casually snapping images of bumblebees on flowers, recording the date and location, and posting them to the Texas Bumblebees Facebook page or as complex as conducting your own bumblebee survey.

Michael Warriner is the invertebrate biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in the Wildlife Diversity Program.  Prior to arriving in Texas, he worked as the invertebrate zoologist for the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and as a research associate working on forest entomology at Mississippi State University.  He received a B.S. in biology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and an M.S. in biology at  Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas.

Meeting details:
Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 7-9 pm at Wild Basin Preserve, 805 N. Capital of TX Highway (Loop 360), Austin, 78746.  Doors open at 6:30 pm for socializing, munching, and general good fun.  Nonmembers welcome; free admission.

Remember to bring:
(1) seeds to exchange and give away;
(2) mystery plants for identification.

For further information, contact Mike Powers at 512-453-2289 in Austin.