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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Three-Dimensional and Color Patterns on Nest Location and Progeny Mortality in Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

Authors
item Guedot, Christelle - USU BIOLOGY LOGAN, UT
item Bosch, Jordi - UNIV BARCELONA, SP
item Kemp, William
item James, Rosalind

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 13, 2006
Publication Date: June 1, 2006
Citation: Guedot, C., Bosch, J., Kemp, W.P., James, R.R. 2006. Effects of three-dimensional and color patterns on nest location and progeny mortality in alfalfa leafcutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Journal of Environmental Entomology. 99(3):626-633.

Interpretive Summary: In commercial situations of alfalfa seed production where high bee densities are often released, Megachile rotundata females make numerous mistakes when trying to locate their nests. Such levels of mistakes lead to an increase in the time spent by females locating individual nests, thus decreasing alfalfa pollination efficiency as well as healthy brood production. Chalkbrood is a predominant fungal disease in M. rotundata bees and frequently results in population losses of 50% or more in commercial situations. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of separating boards, applying a three-dimensional pattern, a color contrast pattern or a combination of both patterns to nesting boards on nest location performance, chalkbrood-related mortality, and broodless provisions in commercial alfalfa leafcutting bee shelters. Separating the nesting boards inside nesting shelters improved nest location. An increase in nest location performance also occurred with the 3-dimensional board and the combined 3-dimensional and color contrast board compared to the uniform board. No statistical differences occurred in the percentage of broodless provisions, but a decrease in the percent of chalkbrood-infected larvae occurred in the 3-dimensional board, as compared to the uniform board.

Technical Abstract: In commercial situations of alfalfa seed production where high bee densities are often released, Megachile rotundata females make numerous mistakes when trying to locate their nests. Such levels of mistakes lead to an increase in the time spent by females locating individual nests, thus decreasing alfalfa pollination efficiency as well as healthy brood production. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of separating boards, applying a three-dimensional pattern, a color contrast pattern or a combination of both patterns to nesting boards on nest location performance, chalkbrood-related mortality, and broodless provisions in commercial alfalfa leafcutting bee shelters. Separating the nesting boards inside nesting shelters improved nest location. An increase in nest location performance also occurred with the 3-dimensional board and the combined 3-dimensional and color contrast board compared to the uniform board. No statistical differences occurred in the percentage of broodless provisions, but a decrease in the percent of chalkbrood-infected larvae occurred in the 3-dimensional board, as compared to the uniform board.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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