Research Matters

Research Matters

Giant Resin Bee


Photo credit:
William Vann / edupic.net

Three years ago, KU doctoral student Ismael Hinojosa-Díaz investigated the spread of an invasive species of Asian bee, called the Giant Resin Bee. Hinojosa-Díaz and four colleagues foretold in an academic journal of that bee's potential to inhabit the entire eastern half of North America, as far west as the Great Plains.

Aired November 16, 2008


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Transcript

A researcher of an invasive bee's expansion has collected the first specimen in the West. From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I'm Brendan Lynch.

Three years ago, KU doctoral student Ismael Hinojosa-Díaz investigated the spread of an invasive species of Asian bee, called the Giant Resin Bee. Hinojosa-Díaz and four colleagues foretold in an academic journal of that bee's potential to inhabit the entire eastern half of North America, as far west as the Great Plains.

Hinojosa-Díaz: It's not a threat to nave species so far. It takes nesting sites from other bees, like carpenter bees, but those are mainly abandoned nests. They are not aggressive at all, so they wouldn't bother you although they are big. It's not a good thing to be introducing exotic species, but with this one we shouldn't worry.

Yet, until this past summer, scholars had not identified the Giant Resin Bee west of the Mississippi River. Then the extraordinary happened: Hinojosa-Díaz himself captured a Giant Resin Bee in Lawrence near the KU campus.

Hinojosa-Díaz: At the end of June, a fellow grad student had a get-together in his backyard - we were having a barbeque. He had told me previously that he had seen huge bees in his y ard. So we were at the barbeque and he said, 'Look there's one of those there!' I said, 'Wow!'' You know, when you're an expert on something, you recognize things right away. Everybody there was like, 'What's going on with this guy?' Because I went crazy ... I said, 'Help me! Help me!' I had people bring me stuff to collect the bee. And I did."

The Mexico City native quickly produced the first academic report on the Giant Resin Bee's pioneering presence in Kansas, the westernmost sighting of the insect since it was spotted in Tennessee a few years earlier.

Hinojosa-Díaz: People can see them if they pay attention to the holes in their porches. They can see them going into these holes. The lines of their body are parallel so they are slender and they have huge mandibles. But they wouldn't bite you - the mandibles are for handling their resin.

For more on the Giant Resin Bee, log on to Research Matters dot K-U dot E-D-U. For the University of Kansas, I'm Brendan Lynch.

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Giant Resin Bee

A KU graduate student has produced the first report on an invasive bee's pioneering presence in Kansas, the westernmost sighting of the insect since it was spotted in Tennessee a few years earlier.

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