AVON, Ind. – A species of bee never before seen in Indiana has been discovered at Burnett Woods Nature Preserve in Avon.
The discovery of the bee, identified as an Andrena uvulariae, comes amid a decline in pollinators nationwide.
The Central Indiana Land Trust has owned and managed the 80-acre preserve since 1998 and was been working to clear invasive weeds such as Asian Bush Honeysuckle and Garlic Mustard, which take over and crowd out native species and wildflowers.
The group says that hard work improved the habitat for native plants and animals, and the first reward was the discovery of the bee.
“This is validation of the hard work that’s gone into making the natural area healthy for native species,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust.
Pollinators transfer pollen from one flower to another, fertilizing plants so they can grow and produce food. Without bees to spread pollen, many plants – including most food crops –would not reproduce.
“While we’re still learning a lot about bee species, we know this discovery is a big deal because the more native bees, the greater the opportunities for crop and wildflower pollination,” Chapman said. “If I were a farmer or gardener in Hendricks County, I’d be excited about this.”