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Bumblebees in America: Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

May 26, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Bumblebees in America: Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

Jordanna Sprayberry, PhD

I’m an engineer and I will confess: I don’t know a lot about bees. My family kept honey bees when I was a kid in South Carolina and I remember donning the suit and opening the hive, smoker in hand, observing with awe the energy, precision and productivity of bees that seemed at once like a million little bees and one big ball of bees. They were mysterious and magical, with their dances, queens and rituals; their stings and their honey. In recent years, this understanding of bees has taken on a more serious dimension as we’ve all been made more aware of the life-sustaining role bees play in agriculture and how difficult it is to be a bee in industrialized society. How do these tiny heroes do it? How can we help?  

We are delighted to have local bumble bee researcher and expert, Jordanna Sprayberry (really her name, isn’t that marvelous?!) join us at our May meeting. She’ll answer many questions for us, starting with, how are bumblebees different than honey bees? What do they do for natural and agricultural ecosystems? Are they suffering the same fate as honeybees? What can we do to help? She’ll explain bumblebee life history and present some current research into the cause of pollinator declines today. And, using that life history, talk with us about strategies for maintaining, and hopefully increasing, pollinator populations.

Building on these connections, MAREA board member and master gardener Karen George will explain how to certify your garden as a Pollinator Garden. She’ll also share info on the spotted lantern fly, Emerald Ash Borer, and  Pollinator Friendly gardens.

We hope you can join us for Dr. Jordanna Sprayberry’s talk on Tuesday, May 26 at 7:00 at TEKPark in Breinigsville, PA (between Kutztown and Allentown). Meetings are free and open to the public. After the meeting, please plan to buzz around and chat with friends old and new. We’re also interested in your ideas for MAREA speakers, activities and services. Light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!

Dr. Jordanna Sprayberry is an Associate Professor of Biology and Neuroscience at Muhlenberg College, where she studies the nruoethology of pollination. Dr. Sprayberry earned her B.S. in Zoology at the University of Rhode Island in 1998. She studied the visual processing and flower tracking behavior in hawkmoths for her PhD from the University of Washington in 2005. From there she moved onto a post-doc in insect olfaction at the University of Arizona, before starting her current faculty position in 2008. 

For questions, contact Vera Cole, <a>[masked]</a> or [masked].

Free DVD with MAREA membership  While supplies last, all new and renewing MAREA members will receive a free copy of “Saving Sunshine, Keeping the Lights on with Batteries and Solar Power,” the 30-minute DVD produced by MAREA this year with funding from the Berks Community Foundation and distributed by Bullfrog Films. It’s terrific film, offering an interesting and easily understood explanation of the electricity grid and distribution generation, especially the role of batteries with solar. MAREA is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Donations and memberships are how we keep the lights on. You can join at the meeting or anytime online. Thanks for your help. 


TEK Park
9999 Hamilton Blvd.
Breinigsville, PA 18031 us


Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (eastern PA)