Bumblebees in Solar Prairies

Bumblebees in Solar Prairies



Nicolette A. Engelmeier, Grace A. Janszen, Morgan E. Mieland


Presentation: 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom

This project reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process.

Course: BIO 459L



Bumblebees (Bombus Latreille) are an interest of many ecologists today due to the increasing decline of pollinators. A pollinator, such as the bumblebee, provides a large amount of service to an ecosystem since they aid in the survival and nutrition of plants and animals in their area. The data collected will help to understand if the solar prairie is being used by pollinators in the area and if it is beneficial to their survival. The goal of our research is to study areas in which a bumblebee may hibernate, between man-made or natural areas. We dug 10cm holes near both man-made and natural structures and searched through the soil to look for a singular queen bee. We used natural structures such as trees and plants that would provide protection. Man-made structures that we focused on were fences and mainly the solar panels in the solar prairie. We were not able to find any bumblebees during our search. We believe the main obstacle in our search was due to the warm weather patterns during a typically cold season, which may have caused the bumblebees to come out of hibernation early. As a result of this weather, we began searching for evidence of the bumblebees using the solar prairie as an ecosystem to survive in. We conducted bumblebees patterns of flight and foraging patterns inside of the solar prairie, which is important for the pollination of native plants in the area and the survival of other species in the ecosystem.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Kathleen A. Kargl, Chelse M. Prather

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Life on Land

Bumblebees in Solar Prairies