Amid concerns for their health, bees find a powerful buffet in an unlikely urban oasis

Amid concerns for their health, bees find a powerful buffet in an unlikely urban oasis

Timothy B. Wheeler Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

 

A bulldozer rumbled atop a massive construction-rubble landfill nearby as Sam Droege and Thom Wilson went bee-hunting beneath high-voltage power lines slicing across northeastern Baltimore.

Every few steps he took, Droege — a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey — swiped the long-handled net he carried at the winged insects he spied on colorful little wildflowers popping up amid the weeds and trash.

He examined one of his catches: “There’s a little Ceratina, a small carpenter bee.” And, farther on: “Here’s a little bee, on this chicory.”

Wilson, a self-taught naturalist from nearby Armistead Gardens, kept pace, rattling off the scientific and common names of the bees and the blossoming plants attracting their attention: milkweed, goldenrod, dogbane, Queen Anne’s lace and more.

To many, a landfill and an unkempt power line right-of-way might look like eyesores. But they’re flashing an all-you-can-eat sign for wild bees, which can be found in surprising numbers and diversity in blighted, out-of-the-way spots like this one in Baltimore.

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