Bee Campus USA

Carroll University is a proud member of Bee Campus USA, an initiative by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. We recognize the great importance of native pollinators to the health of our ecosystem and our food sources. Up to 40% of pollinator species are at risk of extinction due to pesticide use, loss of habitat and climate change.

Carroll University is committed to provide a welcome home to native pollinators as well as educate our campus on the significance of pollination. Keep an eye out on campus to see pollination at work!

Current initiatives include:
  • Using all organic lawn care products
  • Working with a landscape architect to plant native flower species
  • Discussing pollination in biology classes
  • Respecting native ground bee species present on campus
  • Providing bee houses for solitary bee species at the Field Station

What is pollination? What are native pollinators?

When drinking nectar, bees collecting pollen on their bodies and transport it between flowers. The pollen from the male reproductive organ is therefore transferred to the female reproductive organ of another flower. This fertilization allows the plant to produce a fruit or seeds. While most people focus on domesticated honey bees, there are around 3600 species of bees native to the USA and more than 90% of them are solitary bees which do not form colonies. Most are non-aggressive and many are stingless.

Ground Nesting Bees

70% of wild bees live in underground nests and include species like miner bees and cellophane bees. They prefer dry sandy soils and may make burrows that resemble ant hills. Ground nesting bees come out of the ground in the spring when the weather warms to mate and pollinate. We currently have a ground nesting bee population under the volleyball court at the Bergs. During their active months, please give them space and let them do their work for the planet!

Bumble Bees

These are bigger bees with round fuzzy bodies and can fly at lower temps and darker light. This makes them great pollinators for agricultural plants in Wisconsin.

Cavity Nesting Bees

30% of wild bees nest in cavities found in reeds, hollow stems, or brush piles. Common species include mason, leafcutter, and carpenter bees. We are collaborating with the CU Green Field Station/Prairie Springs Environmental Education Center to provide bee houses for these species starting in Spring 2023.

Butterflies and Moths

Known for their beautiful and distinctive wings, butterflies and moths also feed on nectar and transport pollen between flowers. Many species are on the decline in Wisconsin, but some of our more common species are the red admiral butterfly and white lined sphinx moth. We also are in the native range of the monarch butterfly which migrate into Wisconsin in May. You can plant milkweed to support monarch populations.

Tons of other insects and birds also pollinate such as wasps, flies, beetles and hummingbirds. Consider making your home pollinator friendly by providing nesting sites, native flowers, participating in No-Mow May, etc.

For more information and references to the above information please see the following:

Bee City USA
Wisconsin Pollinators
Bug of the Week | UWM Field Station
Wisconsin No Mow May | New York Times
Panoramic View of campus