Floral richness and seasonality influences bee and non-bee flower interactions in urban community gardens

Julia Marion Schmack, Monika Egerer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Pollinating insects are essential for food production. Both bee and non-bee pollinators are undergoing dramatic declines due to land use intensification and its consequences on native ecosystems. While interactions between crops and bee pollinators are well studied, our understanding of the pollination service provided by non-bee flower visitors including flies, ants, beetles and others is still limited. Moreover, the effects of landscape urbanization and changes in floral and nesting resource availability on the network structure of pollinators with both cultivated and wild plants have been poorly studied. We assessed which common bee and non-bee flower visitor groups dominate the interactions with both wild (e.g. Trifolium pratense, Taraxacum officinales) and cultivated plants (e.g. Fragaria ananassa, Cucurbita pepo) in urban community gardens in Berlin and Munich and explored how these interactions between flower visitor groups and plants change over the growing season. We further investigated the effect of changes in urbanization surrounding community gardens, and the availability of floral and nesting resources within gardens on the complexity (i.e. nestedness, linkage density, connectance) of interaction networks. We observed 20 focal plant species and 13 common bee and non-bee flower visitor groups in 30 urban community gardens. We found that dominant plant visitors changed over the growing season, with non-bee flower visitors including ants and flies as dominant early season visitors, and bee pollinators as important visitors later in the season. Nestedness of the flower visitor network increased with increases in floral richness in community gardens, while neither floral abundance nor the impervious surface surrounding the community gardens, garden size or the availability of nesting resources in gardens strongly influenced the flower visitor networks. Our findings suggest that high floral richness in community gardens may ensure the complexity and, thus, the stability of flower visitor networks. Findings further suggest that the role of non-bee flower visitors should be considered for pollination service provision especially in the shoulder seasons. Finally, our results emphasize that urban gardeners play a key role in mediating flower visitor interactions through their gardening practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1112
Number of pages14
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Ecological networks
  • Floral resources
  • Imperviousness
  • Non-bee flower visitor
  • Plant-pollinator interactions
  • Temporal dynamics


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