Luther College is located in one of the prettiest parts of the Hawkeye State, Decorah. With nature galore, it's the perfect place to analyze Iowa wildlife, insects included.

In a recent study conducted on the bee population on and near its campus, it was determined that seven of the 55 bee species accounted for had never been recorded in Iowa prior to the study.

This is what Kirk Larsen, a biology professor and faculty advisor of the research project told KCRG:

We have seven species that we are confident are state records, meaning they have not been previously found in Iowa and there are no specimens of these species collected from Iowa in any natural history collections that we know of.

The group of individuals who came together for the study are part of Luther's Summer Student/Faculty Collaborative Research program. The finding helped them determine that the move by Luther College to plant more native flowers is attracting more of a variety of nature's pollinators.

KCRG lists the following species that the program found through the analysis:

  • Megachile relativa - which is normally found in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Canada.
  • Paranthidium jugatorium - was spotted just north of Dahl Centennial Union. This species is widespread in the U.S. but not in Iowa.
  • Heriades carinata - which is commonly referred to as the giant resin bee. It is typically found in Minnesota and Canada.
  • Stelis labiata - is a parasitic leafcutter bee that lays its eggs in the nests of other species of bees. It is usually found in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
  • Andrena pruni - also known as the cherry miner bee, is previously known to live in Nebraska, Illinois, and Minnesota.
  • Ptilothrix bombiformis - the hibiscus turret bee, looks very much like a bumble bee. It is widespread across the southeast U.S. north and west to Missouri and Illinois, but this is the furthest northwest ever recorded.
  • Heriades leavitti - a type of mason bee. It has been recorded in Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois but never in Iowa.

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