Phenology & Climate Change on native bees

Phenology refers to the study of seasonal natural phenomena, particularly in relation to climate and plant and animal life cycles. The timing of biological events such as flowering, breeding, and migration is crucial for ecosystem interactions.

The Relationship Between Phenology
and Pollination

  • Synchrony in Timing: The Southeastern Blueberry Bee and blueberry bushes have evolved a synchronized phenology. The bees emerge in early spring, precisely when blueberry bushes start to bloom. This timing ensures that blueberry flowers are pollinated effectively, leading to successful fruit set. This is just one example of the many timing specific relationships between our native plants and wildlife.
  • Buzz Pollination: As mentioned earlier, Southeastern Blueberry Bees, as well as all of our native bee species, are capable of buzz pollination. The precise timing of their activity ensures that they can provide this specialized pollination service when blueberry flowers are receptive.

Impact of Climate Change on Phenology

  • Shifts in Blooming Periods: Climate change can alter the timing of plant blooming periods. Warmer temperatures might cause blueberry bushes to bloom earlier than usual.
  • Bee Emergence: The emergence of Southeastern Blueberry Bees is triggered by temperature cues. If temperatures rise earlier in the year, bees may emerge before the blueberry bushes bloom, leading to a mismatch in timing.
  • Phenological Mismatch: A mismatch between bee emergence and blueberry blooming can have severe consequences. If bees emerge too early or too late, they may not find sufficient food resources, leading to reduced bee survival and ineffective pollination for blueberries.