Sam Droege on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

This week, students with Oregon State University’s Bee School took a break in the OSU Pollinator Gardens on their last day of class (they were working on the Apidae) to ask questions of native bee biologist Sam Droege. Sam Droege is a biologist with the US Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, in Maryland. He has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the BioBlitz, Cricket Crawl, and FrogwatchUSA programs and worked on the design and evaluation of monitoring programs. Currently, he is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees, and online identification guides for North American bees.

Listen in to learn more about how to plant a garden for pollinators using non-native plants, and the complexities of pollinator research in the field.

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“When I’m working with people, I tell them, ‘you’re only allowed to work on a specimen for five minutes. If you haven’t identified them in five minutes, put it down and do a different specimen.’ Because at that point your return is less and less for the amount of effort.” – Sam Droege

Show Notes:

  • Which non-native plants are best for home gardeners and pollinators
  • What non-native plants act as a “bird feeder for the crow and sparrow bees”
  • The pollinator species that Sam loves and dislikes the most
  • Sam’s strategies in species identification with large studies
  • Why Sam doesn’t bother identifying male pollinators most of the time
  • Why researching pollinators almost always involves some kind of lethal trapping technique
  • What Sam would like the general public to know about pollinators
  • The role that all people play to help the pollinator population
  • How to avoid causing problems in your community with your home pollinator habitat

“With non-native plants you can get a lot of bees coming to a number of different kinds of plants, but think of these plants as bird feeders for the crow and sparrow bees. So if you put a bird feeder in the middle of the city you get lots of birds but you are not getting flamingos, warblers and shearwaters, your getting crows, chickadees… the things that don’t need our help, but the things we love having around. ” – Sam Droege

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