A new study of native bumblebee populations in southeastern Michigan cities found, surprisingly, that Detroit has more of the large-bodied bees than some surrounding, less urbanized locations.
The University of Michigan students who conducted the study suspect that the large amount of vacant or idle land in Detroit may boost the bumblebee population by providing nesting sites and flowers for food.
Native bees are critical sources of pollination for agriculture and wild flowering plants. Many native bees are declining in both abundance and diversity, due to various causes that likely include loss of habitat from human activities. While the effects of large-scale agriculture on native bees are relatively well understood, the effects of urban development are less clear.