The present study provides data on the distribution of 128 bee species on the Polish Baltic coast. This brings the total number of species of Apiformes in this region to 164, including those that I reported earlier. The bee fauna of the Polish coast is characterized by a very high proportion of bumblebees and cuckoo bees (locally up to 70-80% of the total catch), and the dominant proportion of Megachilidae, especially Megachile species. The species diversity and dominance structure of the Apiformes differ between the western coast (a very high proportion of bumblebees) and the eastern coast (a large number of dominant species). These results confirm my earlier hypothesis regarding the maritime-continental gradient of bumblebee abundance, indicating that the densities of these insects are higher in NW Poland. This study is the first to assess bee densities on coastal dunes in Poland.
Józef Banaszak, Lucyna Twerd, Halina Ratyńska, Weronika Banaszak-Cibicka and Teresa Zyś
Although research into alien species usually focuses on their negative aspects associated with their penetration into native ecosystems, their influence is much more complicated. This study investigated the pollinators of Bryonia dioica, an invasive climber in the temperate zone. Flowers of this plant in two cities in western Poland (Bydgoszcz and Poznań) were visited by 27 bee species, the most frequent ones being Apis mellifera and Andrena florea. Until recently, the latter was regarded as rare and threatened in Poland. Our results indicate that the spread of Bryonia dioica into urban areas has enabled large and stable populations of Andrena florea to flourish there. This study investigated the daily and seasonal dynamics of its activity. A positive relationship was found between the spread of Bryonia dioica and the presence of its obligatory pollinator Andrena florea. Alien plant species are thus not only an additional source of food for local pollinators but also may favour the occurrence of otherwise rare species with specific food requirements, such as A. florea.
Józef Banaszak and Bojana Dochkova
Wild bees (Apiformes) were studied in 4 crop fields and 8 refuge habitats for 2 - 5 years in agricultural landscapes in the Pleven and Plovdiv regions of Bulgaria. In total, 233 bee species were recorded. Bee forage plants visited by the honey bee and wild Apiformes are listed for each refuge habitat. Species composition is given for individual habitats, including fields of alfalfa (Medicago sativa), oilseed rape (Brassica napus), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), and radish (Raphanus sativus). Species richness and dominance structure of bee communities in the 2 regions are compared, and species responsible for significant differences are identified.
Józef Banaszak and Halina Ratyńska
The study has contributed to the identification of the apifauna of central Wielkopolska. The study identified 161 bee species, accounting for 34.2% of the Polish bee fauna. The highest contribution (28.7% of the fauna) comes from four species, namely Andrena haemorrhoa, A. helvola, Evylaeus calceatus and Osmia rufa, while Bombus terrestris and Evylaeus pauxillus are two subdominants. The assemblages of Apiformes in the study area are characterised by a significant contribution of spring-associated species, which is probably an effect of the presence of numerous willow thickets offering abundant host plants (mainly Salix sp. div.). Both the islands and the surroundings of the lake have a unique species composition, and there are differences in the proportions of the individual dominant species. The overall abundance of bees varies greatly, with mean seasonal density figures on Ostrów Lednicki Island being more than twice as high as that on the mainland grassland, with a distinct predominance of bumblebees. The exceptional richness of Apiformes, including bumblebees, on Ostrów Lednicki should be regarded as the basis for treating this island as a life refuge for bumblebees and including it and its environs in the list of sites of Community importance (SCI). A simultaneous study of the vegetation cover contributed significant data on the vascular plant flora and plant communities of the Lednica Landscape Park. For example, it was the first such investigation of Mewia Island. The study revealed the importance of marginal habitats (natural islands and habitat islands) for the preservation of protected and endangered plant species and plant communities receding from an agricultural landscape.
Lucyna Twerd and Józef Banaszak
Parnopes grandior is a species that until recently was on the brink of extinction in Poland. Current data, however, indicates that it is expanding north-westwards. Most records of this species come from after the year 2000, primarily in northern Poland, especially in the north-eastern part of the country. Simultaneously, our research has shown that anthropogenic habitats like sand quarries and military training grounds are optimal sites for P. grandior.
Józef Banaszak, Ewelina Motyka and Katarzyna Szczepko
The first record of Andrena florivaga Eversmann, 1852 is reported from Poland on the basis of specimens collected in the Kampinos National Park (Mazovian Lowland). Diagnosis, data on localities, biology, and general distribution of the species are provided. One female and five males were caught on a mowed fresh meadow and fallow fields with the use of water pan-traps (Moericke traps), during the 2003 - 2004 time period. The main morphological characteristics distinguishing Andrena florivaga from the very similar Andrena dorsalis Brullé, 1832 species and from the other species of the subgenus Lepidandrena are: in the case of females - the width of facial foveae and colouration of legs, and in the case of males - the length of the first flagellar segment, colouration of clypeus, and pubescence of gonostyles. Andrena florivaga can be found from France in the west, to Central Siberia (Baikal lake region) in the east, and Turkey in the south. Poland is the northernmost locality of the species.
Józef Banaszak, Lucyna Twerd, Anna Sobieraj-Betlińska and Barbara Kilińska
This study complements earlier research on wild bees (Apiformes) in the “Góra Gipsowa” steppe reserve and other habitats near the town of Kietrz (SW Poland), close to the Czech border. It also attempts to reassess the opinion of some researchers about the Moravian Gate as a migration route of southern species to Poland. 109 bee species were recorded at the study sites, including 10 red-listed ones; southern species accounted for 16.5% of this number. The hypothetical route of migration of thermophilous bees through the Moravian Gate to Poland was analysed and the species composition of southern species at either side of the Moravian Gate compared. The results of this study indicate that at present the Moravian Gate plays no part in the migration of southern bee species to Poland.
Józef Banaszak and Piotr Szefer
Abstract Patterns in bee assemblages consisting of 52 core (most abundant) species in farmland in the Wielkopolska region of W Poland were analysed. The entomological material was assessed during earlier research in 1978-1993 from 18 plots in three habitat types: shelterbelts, roadsides and forest patches. At the scale of the refuge habitat size analysed here, an increase in area only slightly enhanced bee species richness. The bee assemblage structures of roadsides and forest patches differ significantly, but their indicator species do not form any well-defined ecological groups. In non-linear forest patches, the bee community structure was more homogeneous than on roadsides. These two habitat types differed significantly in their species composition. Nine significant indicator species were found, but they did not share any ecological characteristics. Three factors were found to affect significantly the responses of individual bee species in the agricultural landscape: the degree of isolation of the refuge habitat, the edge ratio, and roadsides as a refuge habitat type. A large part of the regional diversity is due to the heterogeneity of habitats within the landscape. Habitat area has little influence on the diversity of wild bees, at least within the size range analysed here. We concluded from this study that, regardless of the habitat type, the density of bees from the summer phenological period is affected by the number of food plant species. Point forest patches are habitats where summer species from the genus Andrena and the cleptoparasitic genera Nomada and Sphecodes achieve their highest abundances. Roadsides negatively affected abundances of wild bees and there were no characteristic species for this type of habitat. We hypothesised that this might be related to the specific ecological part played by this type of habitat.