Oilseed pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) is a new, autumn-sown, “cash cover crop” for the Midwestern USA and elsewhere. Anthesis occurs in early spring when few other plants bloom, and its flowers attract early-emerging bees. However, the taxonomic composition of these bees was unknown. Consequently, we systematically captured and identified the genera and species of bees visiting pennycress flowers throughout anthesis at five site-years: two in Illinois and three in Minnesota. A cumulative total of 28 bee species were found across site-years. The most common genera were Andrena (10 species), Lasioglossum (12 species), and Halictus (2 species). Rarer genera were Apis, Ceratina, Hylaeus, and Nomada. Bee abundance and diversity were related closely and in a negative exponential manner with percent land area devoted to annual cropping. The inclusion of new early flowering crops, such as pennycress, may enhance bee abundance and diversity, especially if even small areas of uncropped land are nearby.
Forcella, Frank; Portman, Zachary M.; Wells, Samantha S.; Perry, William; Gesch, Russ W.; Mohammed, Yesuf; Hoerning, Cody; Hard, Alex; Wesley, Tad L.; and Phippen, Winthrop B.
"Abundance and diversity of bees visiting flowering pennycress, a new oilseed crop in the midwestern USA,"
The Great Lakes Entomologist, vol 56
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol56/iss1/13