The bumble bees were studied in Ukraine between 2002 and 2009 under field conditions, by examining historical and recent collections and by the literature data. Forty one species are reported from the whole territory, 32 of them being recorded from the forest-steppe zone. Ten species are rare in all their habitats: B. confusus, B. distinguendus, B. fragrans, B. gerstaeckeri, B. ruderatus, B. armeniacus, B. mesomelas, B. laesus, B. veteranus, and B. cullumanus. The present persistence of the step
pe species B. armeniacus, B. laesus, and B. cullumanus is restricted to the eastern part of the country, and B. fragrans—to the Crimean Peninsula. The information on distribution, abundance, habitat, and floral preferences of bumble bees is also provided.
Diurnal activities of Halictus scabiosae bees and their nest parasites (major bee-flies, cuckoo wasps, ichneumon wasps, Sphecodes bees, and velvet ants) were investigated at a study site with 159 nests in Eastern Austria. Foraging activity correlated with ambient temperature only before midday and decreased in the afternoon. The activity of nest-infesting parasites increased during the day and correlated with ambient temperature. The match factor fm between the ratios of the foraging activities
of H. scabiosae and the ratios of aspects of morning temperature was assessed on three consecutive days with different weather. The activity patterns of halictine bees and their nest parasites differed: the parasites exhibited only small time windows in which their activities were synchronised with those of their hosts. The bees exhibited an anticyclic behaviour and collected food in times of low parasite pressure and decreased foraging activity when parasite pressure increased.
In order to adopt correct conservation strike plans to maintain bee pollination activity it is necessary to know the species' resource utilisation and requirements. We investigated the floral resources and the nesting requirements of the eusocial bee Lasioglossum malachurum Kirby at various sites in a Mediterranean landscape. Analysis of bees' pollen loads showed that Compositae was the more exploited family, although interpopulations differences appeared in the pollen types used. From 5 to 7 po
llen types were used by bees, but only as few as 1–1.9 per load. Variations of the pollen spectrum through the annual nesting cycle were conspicuous. At all sites, bees nested in horizontal ground areas with high soil hardness, low acidity, and rare superficial stones. On the other side, the exploited soil was variable in soil granulometry (although always high in % of silt or sand) and it was moderately variable in content of organic matter and highly variable in vegetation cover. Creation of ground patches with these characteristics in proximity of both cultivated and natural flowering fields may successfully promote colonization of new areas by this bee.
Colonies of the Brazilian stingless bee Plebeia remota show a reproductive diapause in autumn and winter. Therefore, they present two distinct reproductive states, during which colony needs are putatively different. Consequently, foraging should be adapted to the different needs. We recorded the foraging activity of two colonies for 30 days in both phases. Indeed, it presented different patterns during the two phases. In the reproductive diapause, the resource predominantly collected by the fora
gers was nectar. The majority of the bees were nectar foragers, and the peak of collecting activity occurred around noon. Instead, in the reproductive phase, the predominantly collected resource was pollen, and the peak of activity occurred around 10:00 am. Although the majority of the foragers were not specialized in this phase, there were a larger number of pollen foragers compared to the phase of reproductive diapause. The temperature and relative humidity also influenced the foraging activity.
Bumble bees are important pollinators of crops and other plants. However, many aspects of their basic biology remain relatively unexplored. For example, one important and unusual natural history feature in bumble bees is the massive size variation seen between workers of the same nest. This size polymorphism may be an adaptation for division of labor, colony economics, or be nonadaptive. It was also suggested that perhaps this variation allows for niche specialization in workers foraging at diff
erent temperatures: larger bees might be better suited to forage at cooler temperatures and smaller bees might be better suited to forage at warmer temperatures. This we tested here using a large, enclosed growth chamber, where we were able to regulate the ambient temperature. We found no significant effect of ambient or nest temperature on the average size of bees flying to and foraging from a suspended feeder. Instead, bees of all sizes successfully flew and foraged between
16 °C and 36 °C. Thus, large bees foraged even at very hot temperatures, which we thought might cause overheating. Size variation therefore could not be explained in terms of niche specialization for foragers at different temperatures.
There are widespread concerns about declining populations of bumble bees due to conversion of native habitats to agroecosystems. Certain cropping systems, however, provide enormous foraging resources, and are beneficial for population build up of native bees, especially eusocial bees such as bumble bees. In this review, we present evidence of a flourishing bumble bee fauna in the Willamette Valley in western Oregon which we believe is sustained by cultivation of bee-pollinated crops which bloom
in sequence, and in synchrony with foraging by queens and workers of a complex of bumble bee species. In support of our perspective, we describe the Oregon landscape and ascribe the large bumble bee populations to the presence of a pollen source in spring (cultivated blueberries) followed by one in summer (red clover seed crops). Based on our studies, we recommend integration into conservation approaches of multiple agroecosystems that bloom in sequence for sustaining and building bumble bee populations.
The food habits of the solitary bee Ceratina flavipes were studied by observation on foraging behavior and identifying the pollen grains that they collected. It appeared that C. flavipes tend to collect pollen from particular species; however, they visit multiple flowering species. We analyzed pollen sources from pollen loads of dried specimens from single foraging trips (SFT) and in pollen balls created from a single foraging day (SD). The pollen from all pollen balls in a nest represented the
harvest from an entire breeding season (BP). This analysis showed that each bee on average collected pollen from 3.24 (SFTs), 2.02 (SD), and 3.12 (BP) flowering species. Bees collected pollen from a total of 14 flowering plant species. Furthermore, we calculated when pollen balls were created and found no significant interaction between seasonal pollen availability and bee preferences. Moreover, bees had consistent flower preferences, even if the preferred flower was not dominant at all times. These results indicate that C. flavipes exhibits flower constancy, and therefore, the generalist pollinator C. flavipes could function like a specialist pollinator.
I present an increment-decay model for the mechanism of bumble bees' decision to depart from inflorescences. The probability of departure is the consequence of a dynamic threshold level of stimuli necessary to elicit a stereotyped landing reaction. Reception of floral nectar lowers this threshold, making the bee less likely to depart. Concurrently the threshold increases, making departure from the inflorescence more probable. Increments to the probability of landing are an increasing, decelerati
ng function of nectar volume, and are worth less, in sequence, for the same amount of nectar. The model is contrasted to threshold departure rules, which predict that bees will depart from inflorescences if the amount of nectar in the last one or two flowers visited is below a given level. Field tests comparing the two models were performed with monkshood (Aconitum columbianum). Treated flowers contained a descending series of nectar volumes (6 to 0 𝜇L of 30 % sucrose solution). The more nectar that bees encountered in the treated flowers, the more likely they were to remain within the inflorescence after subsequently visiting one to three empty flowers. I discuss the differences between rules and mechanisms in regard to cognitive models of foraging behavior.
Andrena, which is the largest genus in the Andrenidae, is a very important genus for the pollination of fruit trees. Andrena flavipes Panzer is one of the most common species observed in the study area and can continue the flight activity even under low temperature. In this study, the pollen collected by A. flavipes was determined. In addition, the potential to carry sweet cherry pollen of the aforementioned species was also researched. For the pollen preparates, the scopae of 34 females were us
ed. As a result of the diagnosis studies, it was determined that A. flavipes species collected the pollens of 13 families and that the dominant pollen group belonged to the Brassicaceae. It was ascertained that A. flavipes collected sweet cherry pollen and that the sweet cherry flowers do not represent a primary pollen source, however.
Large carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa) are wood-nesting generalist pollinators of broad geographical distribution that exhibit varying levels of sociality. Their foraging is characterized by a wide range of food plants, long season of activity, tolerance of high temperatures, and activity under low illumination levels. These traits make them attractive candidates for agricultural pollination in hot climates, particularly in greenhouses, and of night-blooming crops. Carpenter bees have demonstrate
d efficient pollination service in passionflower, blueberries, greenhouse tomatoes and greenhouse melons. Current challenges to the commercialization of these attempts lie in the difficulties of mass-rearing Xylocopa, and in the high levels of nectar robbing exhibited by the bees.
In outcrossing crops like alfalfa, various bee species can contribute to pollination and gene flow in seed production fields. With the increasing use of transgenic crops, it becomes important to determine the role of these distinct pollinators on alfalfa pollination and gene flow. The current study examines the relative contribution of honeybees, three bumble bee species, and three solitary bee species to pollination and gene flow in alfalfa. Two wild solitary bee species and one wild bumble bee
species were best at tripping flowers, while the two managed pollinators commonly used in alfalfa seed production, honeybees and leaf cutting bees, had the lowest tripping rate. Honeybees had the greatest potential for gene flow and risk of transgene escape relative to the other pollinators. For honeybees, gene flow and risk of transgene escape were not affected by plant density although for the three bumble bee species gene flow and risk of transgene escape were the greatest in high-density fields.