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Dr. Olivia Carril Speaks About Wild Bees At Rotary

on July 27, 2019 - 7:27am
Dr. Olivia Carril discusses wild bees, in particular, those of Bandelier National Monument during a talk Tuesday at the Rotary Club meeting at Cottonwood on the Greens. Photo by Linda Hull
Dr. Olivia Carril, bee researcher with the National Parks Service and science teacher at the Santa Fe Girls' School, spoke Tuesday at the Rotary Club of Los Alamos about wild bees, in particular, those of Bandelier National Monument. 
After describing how she captures bees in the wild and records her findings, Carril explained that bees are actually a type of specialized wasp, feeding on pollen instead of other insects or meat. Most wild bees are solitary, unlike the domesticated and highly social honeybee introduced from Europe. Many live in nests in the ground or in tree cavities made by beetles.
There are more species of wild bees in New Mexico, greater than 1100, than in all Eastern states combined. This is in part because dry desert climates offer bees a dynamic bio-diversity of plants.
New Mexico's wild bee population is understudied. So far, 56 species of bees have been found in 24 Bandelier locations. Elevation matters, and the fall perennial flowers host the most bees. Bee fossils, preserved in amber, date back 100 million years.
Carril's research has led to the publication of 'The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America's Bees' with co-author Dr. Joseph S. Wilson.