Role of nesting resources in organising diverse bee communities in a Mediterranean landscape


*Simon G. Potts, Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, PO Box 237, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AR, U.K. E-mail:


Abstract.  1. The habitat components determining the structure of bee communities are well known when considering foraging resources; however, there is little data with respect to the role of nesting resources.

2. As a model system this study uses 21 diverse bee communities in a Mediterranean landscape comprising a variety of habitats regenerating after fire. The findings clearly demonstrate that a variety of nesting substrates and nest building materials have key roles in organising the composition of bee communities.

3. The availability of bare ground and potential nesting cavities were the two primary factors influencing the structure of the entire bee community, the composition of guilds, and also the relative abundance of the dominant species. Other nesting resources shown to be important include availability of steep and sloping ground, abundance of plant species providing pithy stems, and the occurrence of pre-existing burrows.

4. Nesting resource availability and guild structure varied markedly across habitats in different stages of post-fire regeneration; however, in all cases, nest sites and nesting resources were important determinants of bee community structure.