Professor Farrell sent me a link to this report done by the BBC on a insect survey being done in urban and rural areas of the UK:
While the idea that urban gardens are a more reliable source of food than farmland and nature reserves might have merit, it seems to me that they haven’t thought about (or, more probably, haven’t reported on) certain other factors.
I’ve always gotten a great catch, both from netting and from bee bowls, while working in the cultivated gardens at the Arbortetum, particularly the Bradley Rose Garden and the Leventritt Shrub and Vine Garden. There’s no doubt that bees will flock to gardens. But they shouldn’t discount the role of weeds and wildflowers in the fields; I’ve seen little white grass blooms I would not have otherwise considered flowers crawling with honeybees, and I got my largest catch of bees ever from a field of overgrown grass and wildflowers. In that catch, I saw many of the same bees I’d seen in the gardens (some in greater numbers), but I also saw several types of bees that were totally new to me; strangely shaped black bees with fat thoraxes and skinny abdomens, bees with wide, short abdomens with yellow stripes that don’t quite meet in the middle, even one with yellow spots instead of stripes! So, I wonder if they might not find greater numbers in the cities’ gardens but greater diversity in the fields.