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Sample records for bee bombus terrestris

  1. Safety and acquisition potential of Metarhizium anisopliae in entomovectoring with bumble bees, Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Smagghe, Guy; De Meyer, Laurens; Meeus, Ivan; Mommaerts, Veerle

    2013-02-01

    In the context of integrated pest management with biological control and reduced pesticide use, dissemination of entomopathogenic fungi with insects has the potency to protect crops and specifically their flowers against pests and diseases. But before implementation of such entomovectoring system, a measurement of risks of the microbial biocontrol agent toward the vectoring insect is crucial. The essential contributions of this project are that 1) exposure of bumble bees, Bombus terrestris (L.) to powder containing 10(7) spores of the commercial biocontrol agent Metarhizium anisopliae strain F52 (Biol020) per gram, was safe; and 2) that when bumble bees had walked through this spore concentration (10(7) spores per gram) in a dispenser, their body carried 9.3 +/- 1 x 10(6) spores/bumble bee, and this was still 2.6 10(6) spores after a flight of 60 s, representing the average time to fly from the dispenser to the crop flowers. 3) In contrast, a 100-fold higher spore concentration (10(9) spores per gram powder) was highly toxic and the acquisition on the bumble bee body was only 2.5 times higher. Based on these data, future studies can start investigating the protection efficacy of this entomovector system with M. anisopliae and bumble bees without harming the vector and with a loading of the vector considered enough to obtain a good inoculation into and protection of the flowers. PMID:23448041

  2. Effects of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide, on reproduction in worker bumble bees (Bombus terrestris).

    PubMed

    Laycock, Ian; Lenthall, Kate M; Barratt, Andrew T; Cresswell, James E

    2012-10-01

    Bumble bees are important pollinators whose populations have declined over recent years, raising widespread concern. One conspicuous threat to bumble bees is their unintended exposure to trace residues of systemic neonicotinoid pesticides, such as imidacloprid, which are ingested when bees forage on the nectar and pollen of treated crops. However, the demographic consequences for bumble bees of exposure to dietary neonicotinoids have yet to be fully established. To determine whether environmentally realistic levels of imidacloprid are capable of making a demographic impact on bumble bees, we exposed queenless microcolonies of worker bumble bees, Bombus terrestris, to a range of dosages of dietary imidacloprid between zero and 125 μg L(-1) and examined the effects on ovary development and fecundity. Microcolonies showed a dose-dependent decline in fecundity, with environmentally realistic dosages in the range of 1 μg L(-1) capable of reducing brood production by one third. In contrast, ovary development was unimpaired by dietary imidacloprid except at the highest dosage. Imidacloprid reduced feeding on both syrup and pollen but, after controlling statistically for dosage, microcolonies that consumed more syrup and pollen produced more brood. We therefore speculate that the detrimental effects of imidacloprid on fecundity emerge principally from nutrient limitation imposed by the failure of individuals to feed. Our findings raise concern about the impact of neonicotinoids on wild bumble bee populations. However, we recognize that to fully evaluate impacts on wild colonies it will be necessary to establish the effect of dietary neonicotinoids on the fecundity of bumble bee queens. PMID:22614036

  3. Changes in Learning and Foraging Behaviour within Developing Bumble Bee (Bombus terrestris) Colonies

    PubMed Central

    Evans, Lisa J.; Raine, Nigel E.

    2014-01-01

    Organisation in eusocial insect colonies emerges from the decisions and actions of its individual members. In turn, these decisions and actions are influenced by the individual's behaviour (or temperament). Although there is variation in the behaviour of individuals within a colony, we know surprisingly little about how (or indeed if) the types of behaviour present in a colony change over time. Here, for the first time, we assessed potential changes in the behavioural type of foragers during colony development. Using an ecologically relevant foraging task, we measured the decision speed and learning ability of bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) at different stages of colony development. We determined whether individuals that forage early in the colony life cycle (the queen and early emerging workers) behaved differently from workers that emerge and forage at the end of colony development. Whilst we found no overall change in the foraging behaviour of workers with colony development, there were strong differences in foraging behaviour between queens and their workers. Queens appeared to forage more cautiously than their workers and were also quicker to learn. These behaviours could allow queens to maximise their nectar collecting efficiency whilst avoiding predation. Because the foundress queen is crucial to the survival and success of a bumble bee colony, more efficient foraging behaviour in queens may have strong adaptive value. PMID:24599144

  4. Effects of the neonicotinoid pesticide thiamethoxam at field-realistic levels on microcolonies of Bombus terrestris worker bumble bees.

    PubMed

    Laycock, Ian; Cotterell, Katie C; O'Shea-Wheller, Thomas A; Cresswell, James E

    2014-02-01

    Neonicotinoid pesticides are currently implicated in the decline of wild bee populations. Bumble bees, Bombus spp., are important wild pollinators that are detrimentally affected by ingestion of neonicotinoid residues. To date, imidacloprid has been the major focus of study into the effects of neonicotinoids on bumble bee health, but wild populations are increasingly exposed to alternative neonicotinoids such as thiamethoxam. To investigate whether environmentally realistic levels of thiamethoxam affect bumble bee performance over a realistic exposure period, we exposed queenless microcolonies of Bombus terrestris L. workers to a wide range of dosages up to 98 μgkg(-1) in dietary syrup for 17 days. Results showed that bumble bee workers survived fewer days when presented with syrup dosed at 98 μg thiamethoxamkg(-1), while production of brood (eggs and larvae) and consumption of syrup and pollen in microcolonies were significantly reduced by thiamethoxam only at the two highest concentrations (39, 98 μgkg(-1)). In contrast, we found no detectable effect of thiamethoxam at levels typically found in the nectars of treated crops (between 1 and 11 μgkg(-1)). By comparison with published data, we demonstrate that during an exposure to field-realistic concentrations lasting approximately two weeks, brood production in worker bumble bees is more sensitive to imidacloprid than thiamethoxam. We speculate that differential sensitivity arises because imidacloprid produces a stronger repression of feeding in bumble bees than thiamethoxam, which imposes a greater nutrient limitation on production of brood. PMID:24238719

  5. A new threat to bees? Entomopathogenic nematodes used in biological pest control cause rapid mortality in Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Dutka, Alexandrea; McNulty, Alison; Williamson, Sally M

    2015-01-01

    There is currently a great deal of concern about population declines in pollinating insects. Many potential threats have been identified which may adversely affect the behaviour and health of both honey bees and bumble bees: these include pesticide exposure, and parasites and pathogens. Whether biological pest control agents adversely affect bees has been much less well studied: it is generally assumed that biological agents are safer for wildlife than chemical pesticides. The aim of this study was to test whether entomopathogenic nematodes sold as biological pest control products could potentially have adverse effects on the bumble bee Bombus terrestris. One product was a broad spectrum pest control agent containing both Heterorhabditis sp. and Steinernema sp., the other product was specifically for weevil control and contained only Steinernema kraussei. Both nematode products caused ≥80% mortality within the 96 h test period when bees were exposed to soil containing entomopathogenic nematodes at the recommended field concentration of 50 nematodes per cm(2) soil. Of particular concern is the fact that nematodes from the broad spectrum product could proliferate in the carcasses of dead bees, and therefore potentially infect a whole bee colony or spread to the wider environment. PMID:26618084

  6. A new threat to bees? Entomopathogenic nematodes used in biological pest control cause rapid mortality in Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    Dutka, Alexandrea; McNulty, Alison

    2015-01-01

    There is currently a great deal of concern about population declines in pollinating insects. Many potential threats have been identified which may adversely affect the behaviour and health of both honey bees and bumble bees: these include pesticide exposure, and parasites and pathogens. Whether biological pest control agents adversely affect bees has been much less well studied: it is generally assumed that biological agents are safer for wildlife than chemical pesticides. The aim of this study was to test whether entomopathogenic nematodes sold as biological pest control products could potentially have adverse effects on the bumble bee Bombus terrestris. One product was a broad spectrum pest control agent containing both Heterorhabditis sp. and Steinernema sp., the other product was specifically for weevil control and contained only Steinernema kraussei. Both nematode products caused ≥80% mortality within the 96 h test period when bees were exposed to soil containing entomopathogenic nematodes at the recommended field concentration of 50 nematodes per cm2 soil. Of particular concern is the fact that nematodes from the broad spectrum product could proliferate in the carcasses of dead bees, and therefore potentially infect a whole bee colony or spread to the wider environment. PMID:26618084

  7. A Novel Behavioral Assay to Investigate Gustatory Responses of Individual, Freely-moving Bumble Bees (Bombus terrestris).

    PubMed

    Ma, Carolyn; Kessler, Sébastien; Simpson, Alexander; Wright, Geraldine

    2016-01-01

    Generalist pollinators like the buff-tailed bumble bee, Bombus terrestris, encounter both nutrients and toxins in the floral nectar they collect from flowering plants. Only a few studies have described the gustatory responses of bees toward toxins in food, and these experiments have mainly used the proboscis extension response on restrained honey bees. Here, a new behavioral assay is presented for measuring the feeding responses of freely-moving, individual worker bumble bees to nutrients and toxins. This assay measures the amount of solution ingested by each bumble bee and identifies how tastants in food influence the microstructure of the feeding behavior. The solutions are presented in a microcapillary tube to individual bumble bees that have been previously starved for 2-4 hr. The behavior is captured on digital video. The fine structure of the feeding behavior is analyzed by continuously scoring the position of the proboscis (mouthparts) from video recordings using event logging software. The position of the proboscis is defined by three different behavioral categories: (1) proboscis is extended and in contact with the solution, (2) proboscis is extended but not in contact with the solution and (3) proboscis is stowed under the head. Furthermore the speed of the proboscis retracting away from the solution is also estimated. In the present assay the volume of solution consumed, the number of feeding bouts, the duration of the feeding bouts and the speed of the proboscis retraction after the first contact is used to evaluate the phagostimulatory or the deterrent activity of the compounds tested. This new taste assay will allow researchers to measure how compounds found in nectar influence the feeding behavior of bees and will also be useful to pollination biologists, toxicologists and neuroethologists studying the bumble bee's taste system. PMID:27500630

  8. Repression and Recuperation of Brood Production in Bombus terrestris Bumble Bees Exposed to a Pulse of the Neonicotinoid Pesticide Imidacloprid

    PubMed Central

    Laycock, Ian; Cresswell, James E.

    2013-01-01

    Currently, there is concern about declining bee populations and some blame the residues of neonicotinoid pesticides in the nectar and pollen of treated crops. Bumble bees are important wild pollinators that are widely exposed to dietary neonicotinoids by foraging in agricultural environments. In the laboratory, we tested the effect of a pulsed exposure (14 days ‘on dose’ followed by 14 days ‘off dose’) to a common neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, on the amount of brood (number of eggs and larvae) produced by Bombus terrestris L. bumble bees in small, standardised experimental colonies (a queen and four adult workers). During the initial ‘on dose’ period we observed a dose-dependent repression of brood production in colonies, with productivity decreasing as dosage increased up to 98 µg kg−1 dietary imidacloprid. During the following ‘off dose’ period, colonies showed a dose-dependent recuperation such that total brood production during the 28-day pulsed exposure was not correlated with imidacloprid up to 98 µg kg−1. Our findings raise further concern about the threat to wild bumble bees from neonicotinoids, but they also indicate some resilience to a pulsed exposure, such as that arising from the transient bloom of a treated mass-flowering crop. PMID:24224015

  9. Reproductive workers show queenlike gene expression in an intermediately eusocial insect, the buff-tailed bumble bee Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Harrison, Mark C; Hammond, Robert L; Mallon, Eamonn B

    2015-06-01

    Bumble bees represent a taxon with an intermediate level of eusociality within Hymenoptera. The clear division of reproduction between a single founding queen and the largely sterile workers is characteristic for highly eusocial species, whereas the morphological similarity between the bumble bee queen and the workers is typical for more primitively eusocial hymenopterans. Also, unlike other highly eusocial hymenopterans, division of labour among worker subcastes is plastic and not predetermined by morphology or age. We conducted a differential expression analysis based on RNA-seq data from 11 combinations of developmental stage and caste to investigate how a single genome can produce the distinct castes of queens, workers and males in the buff-tailed bumble bee Bombus terrestris. Based on expression patterns, we found males to be the most distinct of all adult castes (2411 transcripts differentially expressed compared to nonreproductive workers). However, only relatively few transcripts were differentially expressed between males and workers during development (larvae: 71 and pupae: 162). This indicates the need for more distinct expression patterns to control behaviour and physiology in adults compared to those required to create different morphologies. Among female castes, reproductive workers and their nonreproductive sisters displayed differential expression in over ten times more transcripts compared to the differential expression found between reproductive workers and their mother queen. This suggests a strong shift towards a more queenlike behaviour and physiology when a worker becomes fertile. This contrasts with eusocial species where reproductive workers are more similar to nonreproductive workers than the queen. PMID:25913260

  10. Effect of oral infection with Kashmir bee virus and Israeli acute paralysis virus on bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) reproductive success.

    PubMed

    Meeus, Ivan; de Miranda, Joachim R; de Graaf, Dirk C; Wäckers, Felix; Smagghe, Guy

    2014-09-01

    Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) together with Acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV) and Kashmir bee virus (KBV) constitute a complex of closely related dicistroviruses. They are infamous for their high mortality after injection in honeybees. These viruses have also been reported in non-Apis hymenopteran pollinators such as bumblebees, which got infected with IAPV when placed in the same greenhouse with IAPV infected honeybee hives. Here we orally infected Bombus terrestris workers with different doses of either IAPV or KBV viral particles. The success of the infection was established by analysis of the bumblebees after the impact studies: 50days after infection. Doses of 0.5×10(7) and 1×10(7) virus particles per bee were infectious over this period, for IAPV and KBV respectively, while a dose of 0.5×10(6) IAPV particles per bee was not infectious. The impact of virus infection was studied in micro-colonies consisting of 5 bumblebees, one of which becomes a pseudo-queen which proceeds to lay unfertilized (drone) eggs. The impact parameters studied were: the establishment of a laying pseudo-queen, the timing of egg-laying, the number of drones produced, the weight of these drones and worker mortality. In this setup KBV infection resulted in a significant slower colony startup and offspring production, while only the latter can be reported for IAPV. Neither virus increased worker mortality, at the oral doses used. We recommend further studies on how these viruses transmit between different pollinator species. It is also vital to understand how viral prevalence can affect wild bee populations because disturbance of the natural host-virus association may deteriorate the already critically endangered status of many bumblebee species. PMID:25004171

  11. Reproductive competition in the bumble-bee Bombus terrestris: do workers advertise sterility?

    PubMed

    Amsalem, Etya; Twele, Robert; Francke, Wittko; Hefetz, Abraham

    2009-04-01

    Reproductive competition in social insects is generally mediated through specific fertility pheromones. By analysing Dufour's gland secretion in queens and workers of Bombus terrestris under varying social conditions, we demonstrate here that the volatile constituents of the secretion exhibit a context-dependent composition. The secretion of egg-laying queens is composed of a series of aliphatic hydrocarbons (alkanes and alkenes), while that of sterile workers contains in addition octyl esters, dominated by octyl hexadecanoate and octyl oleate. These esters disappear in workers with developed ovaries, whether queenright (QR) or queenless (QL), rendering their secretion queen-like. This constitutes an unusual case in which the sterile caste, rather than the fertile one, possesses extra components. Individually isolated (socially deprived) workers developed ovaries successfully, but failed to oviposit, and still possessed the octyl esters. Thus, whereas social interactions are not needed in order to develop ovaries, they appear essential for oviposition and compositional changes in Dufour's gland secretion (ester disappearance). The apparent link between high ester levels and an inability to lay eggs lends credence to the hypothesis that these esters signal functional sterility. We hypothesize that by producing a sterility-specific secretion, workers signal that 'I am out of the competition', and therefore are not attacked, either by the queen or by the reproductive workers. This enables proper colony function and brood care, in particular sexual brood, even under the chaotic conditions of the competition phase. PMID:19129137

  12. Reproductive competition in the bumble-bee Bombus terrestris: do workers advertise sterility?

    PubMed Central

    Amsalem, Etya; Twele, Robert; Francke, Wittko; Hefetz, Abraham

    2009-01-01

    Reproductive competition in social insects is generally mediated through specific fertility pheromones. By analysing Dufour's gland secretion in queens and workers of Bombus terrestris under varying social conditions, we demonstrate here that the volatile constituents of the secretion exhibit a context-dependent composition. The secretion of egg-laying queens is composed of a series of aliphatic hydrocarbons (alkanes and alkenes), while that of sterile workers contains in addition octyl esters, dominated by octyl hexadecanoate and octyl oleate. These esters disappear in workers with developed ovaries, whether queenright (QR) or queenless (QL), rendering their secretion queen-like. This constitutes an unusual case in which the sterile caste, rather than the fertile one, possesses extra components. Individually isolated (socially deprived) workers developed ovaries successfully, but failed to oviposit, and still possessed the octyl esters. Thus, whereas social interactions are not needed in order to develop ovaries, they appear essential for oviposition and compositional changes in Dufour's gland secretion (ester disappearance). The apparent link between high ester levels and an inability to lay eggs lends credence to the hypothesis that these esters signal functional sterility. We hypothesize that by producing a sterility-specific secretion, workers signal that ‘I am out of the competition’, and therefore are not attacked, either by the queen or by the reproductive workers. This enables proper colony function and brood care, in particular sexual brood, even under the chaotic conditions of the competition phase. PMID:19129137

  13. Specific recognition of reproductive parasite workers by nest-entrance guards in the bumble bee Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The impact of social parasites on their hosts’ fitness is a strong selective pressure that can lead to the evolution of adapted defence strategies. Guarding the nest to prevent the intrusion of parasites is a widespread response of host species. If absolute rejection of strangers provides the best protection against parasites, more fine-tuned strategies can prove more adaptive. Guarding is indeed costly and not all strangers constitute a real threat. That is particularly true for worker reproductive parasitism in social insects since only a fraction of non-nestmate visitors, the fertile ones, can readily engage in parasitic reproduction. Guards should thus be more restrictive towards fertile than sterile non-nestmate workers. We here tested this hypothesis by examining the reaction of nest-entrance guards towards nestmate and non-nestmate workers with varying fertility levels in the bumble bee Bombus terrestris. Because social recognition in social insects mainly relies on cuticular lipids (CLs), chemical analysis was also conducted to examine whether workers’ CLs could convey the relevant information upon which guards could base their decision. We thus aimed to determine whether an adapted defensive strategy to worker reproductive parasitism has evolved in B. terrestris colonies. Results Chemical analysis revealed that the cuticular chemical profiles of workers encode information about both their colony membership and their current fertility, therefore providing potential recognition cues for a suitable adjustment of the guards’ defensive decisions. We found that guards were similarly tolerant towards sterile non-nestmate workers than towards nestmate workers. However, as predicted, guards responded more aggressively towards fertile non-nestmates. Conclusion Our results show that B. terrestris guards discriminate non-nestmates that differ in their reproductive potential and respond more strongly to the individuals that are a greatest threat for

  14. Invasive Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera: Apidae) parasitized by a flagellate (Euglenozoa: Kinetoplastea) and a neogregarine (Apicomplexa: Neogregarinorida).

    PubMed

    Plischuk, Santiago; Lange, Carlos E

    2009-11-01

    The flagellate Crithidia bombi and the neogregarine Apicystis bombi have been found in individuals of Bombus terrestris, a Palaearctic species of bumble bee commercially reared and shipped worldwide for pollination services. B. terrestris has recently entered into the northwestern Patagonia region of Argentina from Chile, where it was introduced in 1998. Prevalence was 21.6% for C. bombi and 3.6% for A. bombi (n=111). The pathogens were not detected in 441 bumble bees belonging to five of the eight known Argentine native species (Bombus atratus, Bombus morio, Bombus bellicosus, Bombus opifex, Bombus tucumanus) collected elsewhere in the country. Although the absence of natural occurrence of C. bombi and A. bombi in Argentine native bumble bees cannot be ascertained at present due to the limited surveys performed, it is important to report their detection in invasive B. terrestris. The invasion event is relatively recent and the accompanying pathogens are not species specific within the genus Bombus. PMID:19682459

  15. Effects of Fastac 50 EC on bumble bee Bombus terrestris L. respiration: DGE disappearance does not lead to increasing water loss.

    PubMed

    Muljar, Riin; Karise, Reet; Viik, Eneli; Kuusik, Aare; Williams, Ingrid; Metspalu, Luule; Hiiesaar, Külli; Must, Anne; Luik, Anne; Mänd, Marika

    2012-11-01

    Sublethal effects of pesticides in insects can be observed through physiological changes, which are commonly estimated by metabolic rate and respiratory patterns, more precisely by the patterns of discontinuous gas-exchange (DGE) cycles. The aim of the present research was to study the effect of some low concentrations of Fastac 50 EC on the cycles of CO(2) release and respiratory water loss rates (WLR) in bumble bee Bombus terrestris L. foragers. Bumble bees were dipped into 0.004% and 0.002% Fastac 50 EC solution. Flow-through respirometry was used to record the respiration and WLR 3h before and after the treatment. The respirometry was combined with infrared actography to enable simultaneous recording of abdominal movements. Our results show that Fastac 50 EC has an after-effect on bumble bee respiratory rhythms and muscle activity but does not affect WLR. Treatment with 0.004% Fastac 50 EC solution resulted in disappearance of the respiration cycles; also the lifespan of treated bumble bees was significantly shorter. Treatment with 0.002% Fastac 50 EC solution had no significant effect on respiration patterns or longevity. We found no evidence for the DGE cycles functioning as a water saving mechanism. PMID:22960306

  16. Bee pathogens found in Bombus atratus from Colombia: A case study.

    PubMed

    Gamboa, Viviana; Ravoet, Jorgen; Brunain, Marleen; Smagghe, Guy; Meeus, Ivan; Figueroa, Judith; Riaño, Diego; de Graaf, Dirk C

    2015-07-01

    Bombus atratus bumblebees from Colombia that were caught in the wild and from breeding programs were screened for a broad set of bee pathogens. We discovered for the first time Lake Sinai Virus and confirmed the infection by other common viruses. The prevalence of Apicystis bombi, Crithidia bombi and Nosema ceranae was remarkably high. According to other studies the former two could have been co-introduced in South America with exotic bumble bees as Bombus terrestris or Bombus ruderatus. Given the fact that none of these species occur in Colombia, our data puts a new light on the spread of these pathogens over the South American continent. PMID:26031564

  17. Spatial Vision in Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Chakravarthi, Aravin; Baird, Emily; Dacke, Marie; Kelber, Almut

    2016-01-01

    Bombus terrestris is one of the most commonly used insect models to investigate visually guided behavior and spatial vision in particular. Two fundamental measures of spatial vision are spatial resolution and contrast sensitivity. In this study, we report the threshold of spatial resolution in B. terrestris and characterize the contrast sensitivity function of the bumblebee visual system for a dual choice discrimination task. We trained bumblebees in a Y-maze experimental set-up to associate a vertical sinusoidal grating with a sucrose reward, and a horizontal grating with absence of a reward. Using a logistic psychometric function, we estimated a resolution threshold of 0.21 cycles deg(-1) of visual angle. This resolution is in the same range but slightly lower than that found in honeybees (Apis mellifera and A. cerana) and another bumblebee species (B. impatiens). We also found that the contrast sensitivity of B. terrestris was 1.57 for the spatial frequency 0.090 cycles deg(-1) and 1.26 for 0.18 cycles deg(-1). PMID:26912998

  18. Spatial Vision in Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    Chakravarthi, Aravin; Baird, Emily; Dacke, Marie; Kelber, Almut

    2016-01-01

    Bombus terrestris is one of the most commonly used insect models to investigate visually guided behavior and spatial vision in particular. Two fundamental measures of spatial vision are spatial resolution and contrast sensitivity. In this study, we report the threshold of spatial resolution in B. terrestris and characterize the contrast sensitivity function of the bumblebee visual system for a dual choice discrimination task. We trained bumblebees in a Y-maze experimental set-up to associate a vertical sinusoidal grating with a sucrose reward, and a horizontal grating with absence of a reward. Using a logistic psychometric function, we estimated a resolution threshold of 0.21 cycles deg−1 of visual angle. This resolution is in the same range but slightly lower than that found in honeybees (Apis mellifera and A. cerana) and another bumblebee species (B. impatiens). We also found that the contrast sensitivity of B. terrestris was 1.57 for the spatial frequency 0.090 cycles deg−1 and 1.26 for 0.18 cycles deg−1. PMID:26912998

  19. The safety of thiamethoxam to pollinating bumble bees (Bombus terrestris L.) when applied to tomato plants through drip irrigation.

    PubMed

    Alarcón, A L; Cánovas, M; Senn, R; Correia, R

    2005-01-01

    Thiamethoxam, mainly sold under the trademark of Actara, is a neonicotinoid widely used in covered vegetables for the control of aphids and whiteflies. In these crops, and particularly in covered tomatoes, bumble-bees are used for cross-pollination as an alternative to labour intensive manual techniques. In this study, made on tomatoes grown in separated greenhouse plots in Murcia, Southern Spain, thiamethoxam was applied through drip irrigation at a rate of 200 g ai/ha, and as a split application of the same rate, to evaluate the effects on pollinating bumble bees compared to a foliar application of a toxic standard. The results showed that the toxic foliar standard had a clear effect on the pollination of tomato flowers, declining to zero pollination two weeks after application, whereas both the single and split drip irrigation applications of Actara had no effect on pollination when compared to the control plots. The count of dead adults and larvae did not show any differences between the treatments, whereas the measurement of sugar water consumption was shown to correlate well with pollination. The consumption of sugar water declined in the toxic standard plots by 69% with respect to the control, whilst the decline in lower dose drip irrigation application was only 3%. In regard to hive weight, and number of adults and brood after destructive sampling; there were no statistical differences between the treatments but a negative effect of the foliar treatment was observed. Based on these results we can conclude that a split application of Actara applied in drip irrigation to the soil/substrate has no effect on the bumble-bees used in tomatoes for pollination. PMID:16628891

  20. Teppeki, selective insecticide about Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Fanigliulo, Angela; Filì, Vittorio; Pacella, Rosa; Comes, Soccorsa; Crescenzi, Aniello

    2009-01-01

    At a time when a highly controversial debate about the causes of the widespread deaths of bees is taking place all over Europe, which accused the agriculture and its practices with particular reference to the harmful effects of some insecticides, it seems important to point out as another insecticide, the Teppeki, can be selective about bumble and have a good compatibility with the activity of the apiaries. This insecticide has the active ingredient flonicamid (500 g/kg) belonging to a new chemical class, called pyridinecarboxamides: the product works systemic and is known as having a long lasting efficacy against all important aphid species. Bioagritest test facility of Pignola (PZ, Italy) has conducted in two successive production cycles an experimental trial on a tomato hydroponic cultivation within the Agricola Bonsai farm in Sibari (CS, Italy), whose objective was to measure the selectivity of flonicamid on Bombus terrestris, insects playing an important role in the pollination of certain species grown in greenhouse such as Tomato, Eggplant, Pepper and Cucumber. On the pollinated flower B. terrestris leaves some trace of its visit, a typical dark trademark: on the detection of the marking of flowers was based the testing program conducted by Bioagritest. Two thesis were compared: A, standard) treatment with a foliar insecticide, the neonicotinoide acetamiprid, normally used for control of aphids and whiteflies (unlike other neonicotinoides--imidacloprid and thiametoxam--quite selective about B. terrestris) and B, Teppeki) foliar treatment with Teppeki, to the maximum dose indicated on the label. The experimental design included the use of randomized blocks with 4 repetitions (4 plots/thesis with 100 plants each). In every thesis six B. terrestris hives were placed 2 days before treatment: the respective holes remained closed during the treatment and the 12 following hours. In order to verify the pollination, by the detection of the flower marking, 2 flowers

  1. Altitudinal variation in bumble bee (Bombus) critical thermal limits.

    PubMed

    Oyen, K Jeannet; Giri, Susma; Dillon, Michael E

    2016-07-01

    Organism critical thermal limits are often tightly linked to current geographic distribution and can therefore help predict future range shifts driven by changing environmental temperatures. Thermal tolerance of diverse organisms often varies predictably with latitude, with upper thermal limits changing little and lower thermal limits decreasing with latitude. Despite similarly steep gradients in environmental temperatures across altitude, few studies have investigated altitudinal variation in critical thermal limits. We estimated critical thermal minimum (CTmin), critical thermal maximum (CTmax) and recovery temperature (Trec) by tracking righting response of three bumble bee species during thermal ramps: Bombus huntii collected from 2180m asl, and Bombus bifarius and Bombus sylvicola collected from 3290m asl in Wyoming, USA. Overall, larger bees could tolerate more extreme temperatures, likely due to a thermal inertia driven lag between core body temperatures and air temperatures. Despite their smaller size, high altitude bumble bees tolerated colder air temperatures: they had ~1°C lower CTmin and recovered from cold exposure at ~3-4°C lower air temperatures. Conversely, low altitude bees tolerated ~5°C hotter air temperatures. These altitudinal differences in thermal tolerance parallel differences in average daily minimum (1.2°C) and maximum (7.5°C) temperatures between these sites. These results provide one of the few measurements of organism thermal tolerance across altitude and the first evidence for geographical differences in tolerance of temperature extremes in heterothermic bumble bees. PMID:27264888

  2. The final moments of landing in bumblebees, Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Reber, Therese; Baird, Emily; Dacke, Marie

    2016-04-01

    In comparison to other insects, like honeybees, bumblebees are very effective pollinators. Even though landing is a crucial part of pollination, little is known about how bumblebees orchestrate the final, critical moments of landing. Here, we use high-speed recordings to capture the fine details of the landing behaviour of free-flying bumblebees (Bombus terrestris), while landing on a flat platform with different orientations. We find that the bees have a fairly constant body and head orientation at the moment of leg extension, irrespective of platform tilt. At the same moment in time, the distance to the platform is held constant at around 8 mm (with the exception of low platform tilts). The orientation of the antennae and the first appendage that touches the platform vary between platform orientations, while the duration of the hover phase does not. Overall, the final moments of landing in bumblebees and their close relatives, the honeybees, are similar. However, the distance to the platform at the moment of leg extension and the duration of the hover phase are different in bumblebees and honeybees, suggesting that they are primarily adapted to land on surfaces with different orientations. PMID:26868924

  3. Apicystis bombi (Apicomplexa: Neogregarinorida) parasitizing Apis mellifera and Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Argentina.

    PubMed

    Plischuk, Santiago; Meeus, Ivan; Smagghe, Guy; Lange, Carlos E

    2011-10-01

    The neogregarine Apicystis bombi is considered a low prevalence parasite of Bombus spp. Before our work it has only once been detected in one single specimen of the Western honeybee Apis mellifera. This contribution reports the presence of A. bombi parasitizing both A. mellifera and Bombus terrestris at a site in Northwestern Argentine Patagonia (Bariloche, close to the border with Chile) and analyses its possible absence in the Pampas region, the most important beekeeping region of the country. In Bariloche, prevalence of A. bombi in A. mellifera was 7.6% in 2009, and 13.6% in 2010, whereas in B. terrestris it was 12.1%. Infections were not detected in 302 bee hives periodically prospected along 3 years (almost 400 000 honeybee specimens) in the Pampas. Analysis with the probability program FreeCalc2 suggested a possible absence of A. bombi in this area. Because of high virulence showed in several species of Bombus in the Northern hemisphere, A. bombi should be closely monitored in A. mellifera and in native Bombus species or other Apidae. PMID:23761336

  4. Gonadotropic and Physiological Functions of Juvenile Hormone in Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) Workers

    PubMed Central

    Shpigler, Hagai; Amsalem, Etya; Huang, Zachary Y.; Cohen, Mira; Siegel, Adam J.; Hefetz, Abraham; Bloch, Guy

    2014-01-01

    The evolution of advanced sociality in bees is associated with apparent modifications in juvenile hormone (JH) signaling. By contrast to most insects in which JH is a gonadotropin regulating female fertility, in the highly eusocial honey bee (Apis mellifera) JH has lost its gonadotrophic function in adult females, and instead regulates age-related division of labor among worker bees. In order to shed light on the evolution of JH signaling in bees we performed allatectomy and replacement therapies to manipulate JH levels in workers of the "primitively eusocial" bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Allatectomized worker bees showed remarkable reduction in ovarian development, egg laying, Vitellogenin and Krüppel homolog 1 fat body transcript levels, hemolymph Vitellogenin protein abundance, wax secretion, and egg-cell construction. These effects were reverted, at least partially, by treating allatectomized bees with JH-III, the natural JH of bees. Allatectomy also affected the amount of ester component in Dufour's gland secretion, which is thought to convey a social signal relating to worker fertility. These findings provide a strong support for the hypothesis that in contrast to honey bees, JH is a gonadotropin in bumblebees and lend credence to the hypothesis that the evolution of advanced eusociality in honey bees was associated with major modifications in JH signaling. PMID:24959888

  5. Precocene-I inhibits juvenile hormone biosynthesis, ovarian activation, aggression and alters sterility signal production in bumble bee (Bombus terrestris) workers

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Juvenile hormone (JH) is an important regulator of development and physiology in insects. While in many insect species, including bumble bees, JH function as gonadotropin in adults, in some highly eusocial insects its role has shifted to regulate social behavior including division of labor, dominanc...

  6. Patterns of range-wide genetic variation in six North American bumble bee (Apidae: Bombus) species

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The increasing evidence for population declines in bumble bee (Bombus) species worldwide has accelerated research efforts to explain losses in these important native pollinators. In North America, a number of once widespread Bombus species have suffered serious reductions in range and abundance, alt...

  7. Winter Active Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) Achieve High Foraging Rates in Urban Britain

    PubMed Central

    Stelzer, Ralph J.; Chittka, Lars; Carlton, Marc; Ings, Thomas C.

    2010-01-01

    Background Foraging bumblebees are normally associated with spring and summer in northern Europe. However, there have been sightings of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris during the warmer winters in recent years in southern England. But what floral resources are they relying upon during winter and how much winter forage can they collect? Methodology/Principal Findings To test if urban areas in the UK provide a rich foraging niche for bees we set up colonies of B. terrestris in the field during two late winter periods (2005/6 & 2006/7) in London, UK, and measured their foraging performance. Fully automatic radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology was used in 2006/7 to enable us to record the complete foraging activity of individually tagged bees. The number of bumblebees present during winter (October 2007 to March 2008) and the main plants they visited were also recorded during transect walks. Queens and workers were observed throughout the winter, suggesting a second generation of bee colonies active during the winter months. Mass flowering shrubs such as Mahonia spp. were identified as important food resources. The foraging experiments showed that bees active during the winter can attain nectar and pollen foraging rates that match, and even surpass, those recorded during summer. Conclusions/Significance B. terrestris in the UK are now able to utilise a rich winter foraging resource in urban parks and gardens that might at present still be under-exploited, opening up the possibility of further changes in pollinator phenology. PMID:20221445

  8. USBombus, a database of contemporary survey data for North American Bumble Bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Bombus) distributed in the United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This paper describes USBombus, a large dataset that represents the outcomes of one of the largest standardized surveys of bee pollinators (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Bombus) globally. The motivation to collect live bumble bees across the US was to examine the decline and conservation status of Bombus affi...

  9. Detoxification and stress response genes expressed in a western North American bumble bee, Bombus huntii (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background The Hunt bumble bee (Bombus huntii Greene, Hymenoptera: Apidae) is a holometabolous, social insect important as a pollinator in natural and agricultural ecosystems in western North America. Bumble bees spend a significant amount of time foraging on a wide variety of flowering plants, and this activity exposes them to both plant toxins and pesticides, posing a threat to individual and colony survival. Little is known about what detoxification pathways are active in bumble bees, how the expression of detoxification genes changes across life stages, or how the number of detoxification genes expressed in B. huntii compares to other insects. Results We found B. huntii expressed at least 584 genes associated with detoxification and stress responses. The expression levels of some of these genes, such as those encoding the cytochrome P450s, glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) and glycosidases, vary among different life stages to a greater extent than do other genes. We also found that the number of P450s, GSTs and esterase genes expressed by B. huntii is similar to the number of these genes found in the genomes of other bees, namely Bombus terrestris, Bombus impatiens, Apis mellifera and Megachile rotundata, but many fewer than are found in the fly Drosophila melanogaster. Conclusions Bombus huntii has transcripts for a large number of detoxification and stress related proteins, including oxidation and reduction enzymes, conjugation enzymes, hydrolytic enzymes, ABC transporters, cadherins, and heat shock proteins. The diversity of genes expressed within some detoxification pathways varies among the life stages and castes, and we typically identified more genes in the adult females than in larvae, pupae, or adult males, for most pathways. Meanwhile, we found the numbers of detoxification and stress genes expressed by B. huntii to be more similar to other bees than to the fruit fly. The low number of detoxification genes, first noted in the honey bee, appears to be

  10. Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids increases neuronal vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction in the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)

    PubMed Central

    Moffat, Christopher; Pacheco, Joao Goncalves; Sharp, Sheila; Samson, Andrew J.; Bollan, Karen A.; Huang, Jeffrey; Buckland, Stephen T.; Connolly, Christopher N.

    2015-01-01

    The global decline in the abundance and diversity of insect pollinators could result from habitat loss, disease, and pesticide exposure. The contribution of the neonicotinoid insecticides (e.g., clothianidin and imidacloprid) to this decline is controversial, and key to understanding their risk is whether the astonishingly low levels found in the nectar and pollen of plants is sufficient to deliver neuroactive levels to their site of action: the bee brain. Here we show that bumblebees (Bombus terrestris audax) fed field levels [10 nM, 2.1 ppb (w/w)] of neonicotinoid accumulate between 4 and 10 nM in their brains within 3 days. Acute (minutes) exposure of cultured neurons to 10 nM clothianidin, but not imidacloprid, causes a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-dependent rapid mitochondrial depolarization. However, a chronic (2 days) exposure to 1 nM imidacloprid leads to a receptor-dependent increased sensitivity to a normally innocuous level of acetylcholine, which now also causes rapid mitochondrial depolarization in neurons. Finally, colonies exposed to this level of imidacloprid show deficits in colony growth and nest condition compared with untreated colonies. These findings provide a mechanistic explanation for the poor navigation and foraging observed in neonicotinoid treated bumblebee colonies.—Moffat, C., Pacheco, J. G., Sharp, S., Samson, A. J., Bollan, K. A., Huang, J., Buckland, S. T., Connolly, C. N. Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids increases neuronal vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction in the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). PMID:25634958

  11. Patterns of range-wide genetic variation in six North American bumble bee (Apidae: Bombus) species.

    PubMed

    Lozier, Jeffrey D; Strange, James P; Stewart, Isaac J; Cameron, Sydney A

    2011-12-01

    The increasing evidence for population declines in bumble bee (Bombus) species worldwide has accelerated research efforts to explain losses in these important pollinators. In North America, a number of once widespread Bombus species have suffered serious reductions in range and abundance, although other species remain healthy. To examine whether declining and stable species exhibit different levels of genetic diversity or population fragmentation, we used microsatellite markers to genotype populations sampled across the geographic distributions of two declining (Bombus occidentalis and Bombus pensylvanicus) and four stable (Bombus bifarius; Bombus vosnesenskii; Bombus impatiens and Bombus bimaculatus) Bombus species. Populations of declining species generally have reduced levels of genetic diversity throughout their range compared to codistributed stable species. Genetic diversity can be affected by overall range size and degree of isolation of local populations, potentially confounding comparisons among species in some cases. We find no evidence for consistent differences in gene flow among stable and declining species, with all species exhibiting weak genetic differentiation over large distances (e.g. >1000 km). Populations on islands and at high elevations experience relatively strong genetic drift, suggesting that some conditions lead to genetic isolation in otherwise weakly differentiated species. B. occidentalis and B. bifarius exhibit stronger genetic differentiation than the other species, indicating greater phylogeographic structure consistent with their broader geographic distributions across topographically complex regions of western North America. Screening genetic diversity in North American Bombus should prove useful for identifying species that warrant monitoring, and developing management strategies that promote high levels of gene flow will be a key component in efforts to maintain healthy populations. PMID:22035452

  12. Landscape heterogeneity predicts gene flow in a widespread polymorphic bumble bee, Bombus bifarius (Hymentoptera: Apidae).

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bombus bifarius is a widespread bumble bee that occurs in montane regions of western North America. This species has several major color polymorphisms, and shows evidence of genetic structuring among regional populations. We test whether this structure is evidence for discrete gene flow barriers tha...

  13. Colonies of Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens) Produce Fewer Workers, Less Bee Biomass, and Have Smaller Mother Queens Following Fungicide Exposure.

    PubMed

    Bernauer, Olivia M; Gaines-Day, Hannah R; Steffan, Shawn A

    2015-01-01

    Bees provide vital pollination services to the majority of flowering plants in both natural and agricultural systems. Unfortunately, both native and managed bee populations are experiencing declines, threatening the persistence of these plants and crops. Agricultural chemicals are one possible culprit contributing to bee declines. Even fungicides, generally considered safe for bees, have been shown to disrupt honey bee development and impair bumble bee behavior. Little is known, however, how fungicides may affect bumble bee colony growth. We conducted a controlled cage study to determine the effects of fungicide exposure on colonies of a native bumble bee species (Bombus impatiens). Colonies of B. impatiens were exposed to flowers treated with field-relevant levels of the fungicide chlorothalonil over the course of one month. Colony success was assessed by the number and biomass of larvae, pupae, and adult bumble bees. Bumble bee colonies exposed to fungicide produced fewer workers, lower total bee biomass, and had lighter mother queens than control colonies. Our results suggest that fungicides negatively affect the colony success of a native bumble bee species and that the use of fungicides during bloom has the potential to severely impact the success of native bumble bee populations foraging in agroecosystems. PMID:26463198

  14. Colonies of Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens) Produce Fewer Workers, Less Bee Biomass, and Have Smaller Mother Queens Following Fungicide Exposure

    PubMed Central

    Bernauer, Olivia M.; Gaines-Day, Hannah R.; Steffan, Shawn A.

    2015-01-01

    Bees provide vital pollination services to the majority of flowering plants in both natural and agricultural systems. Unfortunately, both native and managed bee populations are experiencing declines, threatening the persistence of these plants and crops. Agricultural chemicals are one possible culprit contributing to bee declines. Even fungicides, generally considered safe for bees, have been shown to disrupt honey bee development and impair bumble bee behavior. Little is known, however, how fungicides may affect bumble bee colony growth. We conducted a controlled cage study to determine the effects of fungicide exposure on colonies of a native bumble bee species (Bombus impatiens). Colonies of B. impatiens were exposed to flowers treated with field-relevant levels of the fungicide chlorothalonil over the course of one month. Colony success was assessed by the number and biomass of larvae, pupae, and adult bumble bees. Bumble bee colonies exposed to fungicide produced fewer workers, lower total bee biomass, and had lighter mother queens than control colonies. Our results suggest that fungicides negatively affect the colony success of a native bumble bee species and that the use of fungicides during bloom has the potential to severely impact the success of native bumble bee populations foraging in agroecosystems. PMID:26463198

  15. Mechanosensory hairs in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) detect weak electric fields.

    PubMed

    Sutton, Gregory P; Clarke, Dominic; Morley, Erica L; Robert, Daniel

    2016-06-28

    Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) use information from surrounding electric fields to make foraging decisions. Electroreception in air, a nonconductive medium, is a recently discovered sensory capacity of insects, yet the sensory mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we investigate two putative electric field sensors: antennae and mechanosensory hairs. Examining their mechanical and neural response, we show that electric fields cause deflections in both antennae and hairs. Hairs respond with a greater median velocity, displacement, and angular displacement than antennae. Extracellular recordings from the antennae do not show any electrophysiological correlates to these mechanical deflections. In contrast, hair deflections in response to an electric field elicited neural activity. Mechanical deflections of both hairs and antennae increase with the electric charge carried by the bumblebee. From this evidence, we conclude that sensory hairs are a site of electroreception in the bumblebee. PMID:27247399

  16. Mechanosensory hairs in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) detect weak electric fields

    PubMed Central

    Sutton, Gregory P.; Clarke, Dominic; Morley, Erica L.; Robert, Daniel

    2016-01-01

    Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) use information from surrounding electric fields to make foraging decisions. Electroreception in air, a nonconductive medium, is a recently discovered sensory capacity of insects, yet the sensory mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we investigate two putative electric field sensors: antennae and mechanosensory hairs. Examining their mechanical and neural response, we show that electric fields cause deflections in both antennae and hairs. Hairs respond with a greater median velocity, displacement, and angular displacement than antennae. Extracellular recordings from the antennae do not show any electrophysiological correlates to these mechanical deflections. In contrast, hair deflections in response to an electric field elicited neural activity. Mechanical deflections of both hairs and antennae increase with the electric charge carried by the bumblebee. From this evidence, we conclude that sensory hairs are a site of electroreception in the bumblebee. PMID:27247399

  17. Variation in gut microbial communities and its association with pathogen infection in wild bumble bees (Bombus)

    PubMed Central

    Cariveau, Daniel P; Elijah Powell, J; Koch, Hauke; Winfree, Rachael; Moran, Nancy A

    2014-01-01

    Bacterial gut symbiont communities are critical for the health of many insect species. However, little is known about how microbial communities vary among host species or how they respond to anthropogenic disturbances. Bacterial communities that differ in richness or composition may vary in their ability to provide nutrients or defenses. We used deep sequencing to investigate gut microbiota of three species in the genus Bombus (bumble bees). Bombus are among the most economically and ecologically important non-managed pollinators. Some species have experienced dramatic declines, probably due to pathogens and land-use change. We examined variation within and across bee species and between semi-natural and conventional agricultural habitats. We categorized as ‘core bacteria' any operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with closest hits to sequences previously found exclusively or primarily in the guts of honey bees and bumble bees (genera Apis and Bombus). Microbial community composition differed among bee species. Richness, defined as number of bacterial OTUs, was highest for B. bimaculatus and B. impatiens. For B. bimaculatus, this was due to high richness of non-core bacteria. We found little effect of habitat on microbial communities. Richness of non-core bacteria was negatively associated with bacterial abundance in individual bees, possibly due to deeper sampling of non-core bacteria in bees with low populations of core bacteria. Infection by the gut parasite Crithidia was negatively associated with abundance of the core bacterium Gilliamella and positively associated with richness of non-core bacteria. Our results indicate that Bombus species have distinctive gut communities, and community-level variation is associated with pathogen infection. PMID:24763369

  18. Variation in gut microbial communities and its association with pathogen infection in wild bumble bees (Bombus).

    PubMed

    Cariveau, Daniel P; Elijah Powell, J; Koch, Hauke; Winfree, Rachael; Moran, Nancy A

    2014-12-01

    Bacterial gut symbiont communities are critical for the health of many insect species. However, little is known about how microbial communities vary among host species or how they respond to anthropogenic disturbances. Bacterial communities that differ in richness or composition may vary in their ability to provide nutrients or defenses. We used deep sequencing to investigate gut microbiota of three species in the genus Bombus (bumble bees). Bombus are among the most economically and ecologically important non-managed pollinators. Some species have experienced dramatic declines, probably due to pathogens and land-use change. We examined variation within and across bee species and between semi-natural and conventional agricultural habitats. We categorized as 'core bacteria' any operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with closest hits to sequences previously found exclusively or primarily in the guts of honey bees and bumble bees (genera Apis and Bombus). Microbial community composition differed among bee species. Richness, defined as number of bacterial OTUs, was highest for B. bimaculatus and B. impatiens. For B. bimaculatus, this was due to high richness of non-core bacteria. We found little effect of habitat on microbial communities. Richness of non-core bacteria was negatively associated with bacterial abundance in individual bees, possibly due to deeper sampling of non-core bacteria in bees with low populations of core bacteria. Infection by the gut parasite Crithidia was negatively associated with abundance of the core bacterium Gilliamella and positively associated with richness of non-core bacteria. Our results indicate that Bombus species have distinctive gut communities, and community-level variation is associated with pathogen infection. PMID:24763369

  19. Structural Analysis of Hand Drawn Bumblebee Bombus terrestris Silk

    PubMed Central

    Woodhead, Andrea L.; Sutherland, Tara D.; Church, Jeffrey S.

    2016-01-01

    Bombus terrestris, commonly known as the buff-tailed bumblebee, is native to Europe, parts of Africa and Asia. It is commercially bred for use as a pollinator of greenhouse crops. Larvae pupate within a silken cocoon that they construct from proteins produced in modified salivary glands. The amino acid composition and protein structure of hand drawn B. terrestris, silk fibres was investigated through the use of micro-Raman spectroscopy. Spectra were obtained from single fibres drawn from the larvae salivary gland at a rate of 0.14 cm/s. Raman spectroscopy enabled the identification of poly(alanine), poly(alanine-glycine), phenylalanine, tryptophan, and methionine, which is consistent with the results of amino acid analysis. The dominant protein conformation was found to be coiled coil (73%) while the β-sheet content of 10% is, as expected, lower than those reported for hornets and ants. Polarized Raman spectra revealed that the coiled coils were highly aligned along the fibre axis while the β-sheet and random coil components had their peptide carbonyl groups roughly perpendicular to the fibre axis. The protein orientation distribution is compared to those of other natural and recombinant silks. A structural model for the B. terrestris silk fibre is proposed based on these results. PMID:27447623

  20. Structural Analysis of Hand Drawn Bumblebee Bombus terrestris Silk.

    PubMed

    Woodhead, Andrea L; Sutherland, Tara D; Church, Jeffrey S

    2016-01-01

    Bombus terrestris, commonly known as the buff-tailed bumblebee, is native to Europe, parts of Africa and Asia. It is commercially bred for use as a pollinator of greenhouse crops. Larvae pupate within a silken cocoon that they construct from proteins produced in modified salivary glands. The amino acid composition and protein structure of hand drawn B. terrestris, silk fibres was investigated through the use of micro-Raman spectroscopy. Spectra were obtained from single fibres drawn from the larvae salivary gland at a rate of 0.14 cm/s. Raman spectroscopy enabled the identification of poly(alanine), poly(alanine-glycine), phenylalanine, tryptophan, and methionine, which is consistent with the results of amino acid analysis. The dominant protein conformation was found to be coiled coil (73%) while the β-sheet content of 10% is, as expected, lower than those reported for hornets and ants. Polarized Raman spectra revealed that the coiled coils were highly aligned along the fibre axis while the β-sheet and random coil components had their peptide carbonyl groups roughly perpendicular to the fibre axis. The protein orientation distribution is compared to those of other natural and recombinant silks. A structural model for the B. terrestris silk fibre is proposed based on these results. PMID:27447623

  1. A scientific note on Bombus (Psithyrus) insularis invasions of bumble bee nests and honey bee hives in the western United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees (genus Bombus) are critical pollinators of flowering plants, yet some species are obligate social parasites that do little pollinating and reduce the fitness of the colonies they invade. In 2012 we observed an outbreak of the parasitic Bombus insularis in the Cache Valley of Northern Ut...

  2. Constructing a Species Database and Historic Range Maps for North American Bumble Bees (Bombus sensu stricto Latreille) to Inform Conservation Decisions

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees (Bombus Latrielle) are some of the most important native pollinators in North America, pollinating both wild flowers and agricultural crops often where other pollinators such as honey bees are absent. In the last decade at least six North American species of bumble bees (Bombus Latreill...

  3. Fertility signals in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sramkova, A.; Schulz, C.; Twele, R.; Francke, W.; Ayasse, M.

    2008-06-01

    In eusocial Hymenoptera, queen control over workers is probably inseparable from the mechanism of queen recognition. In primitively eusocial bumblebees ( Bombus), worker reproduction is controlled not only by the presence or absence of a dominant queen but also by other dominant workers. Furthermore, it was shown that the queen dominance is maintained by pheromonal cues. We investigated whether there is a similar odor signal released by egg-laying queens and workers that may have a function as a fertility signal. We collected cuticular surface extracts from nest-searching and breeding Bombus terrestris queens and workers that were characterized by their ovarian stages. In chemical analyses, we identified 61 compounds consisting of aldehydes, alkanes, alkenes, and fatty acid esters. Nest-searching queens and all groups of breeding females differed significantly in their odor bouquets. Furthermore, workers before the competition point (time point of colony development where workers start to develop ovaries and lay eggs) differed largely from queens and all other groups of workers. Breeding queens showed a unique bouquet of chemical compounds and certain queen-specific compounds, and the differences toward workers decrease with an increasing development of the workers’ ovaries, hinting the presence of a reliable fertility signal. Among the worker groups, the smallest differences were found after the competition point. Egg-laying females contained higher total amounts of chemical compounds and of relative proportions of wax-type esters and aldehydes than nest-searching queens and workers before the competition point. Therefore, these compounds may have a function as a fertility signal present in queens and workers.

  4. Rearing and foraging affects bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) gut microbiota.

    PubMed

    Newbold, Lindsay K; Oliver, Anna E; Cuthbertson, Leah; Walkington, Sarah E; Gweon, Hyun S; Heard, Matthew S; van der Gast, Christopher J

    2015-08-01

    Bumblebees are ecologically and economically important as pollinators of crop and wild plants, especially in temperate systems. Species, such as the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), are reared commercially to pollinate high-value crops. Their highly specific gut microbiota, characterized by low diversity, may affect nutrition and immunity and are likely to be important for fitness and colony health. However, little is known about how environmental factors affect bacterial community structure. We analysed the gut microbiota from three groups of worker bumblebees (B. terrestris) from distinct colonies that varied in rearing and foraging characteristics: commercially reared with restricted foraging (RR); commercially reared with outside foraging (RF); and wild-caught workers (W). Contrary to previous studies, which indicate that bacterial communities are highly conserved across workers, we found that RF individuals had an intermediate community structure compared with RR and W types. Further, this was shaped by differences in the abundances of common operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and the diversity of rare OTUs present, which we propose results from an increase in the variety of carbohydrates obtained through foraging. PMID:25994560

  5. Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) use social information as an indicator of safety in dangerous environments

    PubMed Central

    Dawson, Erika H.; Chittka, Lars

    2014-01-01

    Avoiding predation is one of the most important challenges that an animal faces. Several anti-predation behaviours can be employed, yet simply using the presence of conspecifics can be a good signal of safety in an environment with potential predation hazards. Here, we show, for the first time, that past experience of predation causes bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) to aggregate with conspecifics, facilitating the identification of safe foraging patches. Bees were trained to differentiate between flowers that harboured predators and flowers that were predator free. When test subjects were subsequently presented solely with the previously predator-infested flower species, there was a significant preference to only land on flowers occupied by other feeding conspecifics. Yet, when safe flowers were made available to subjects previously entrained to discriminate safe from predator-occupied flowers, subjects ignored other bees and the social information potentially provided by them, demonstrating that attraction towards conspecifics is confined to dangerous situations. Our findings demonstrate a previously unknown social interaction in pollinators which may have important implications for plant–pollinator interactions. PMID:24789891

  6. Genetic and Morphometric Evidence for the Conspecific Status of the Bumble Bees, Bombus melanopygus and Bombus edwardsii

    PubMed Central

    Owen, Robin E.; Whidden, Troy L.; Plowright, R.C.

    2010-01-01

    The taxonomic status of closely related bumble bee species is often unclear. The relationship between the two nominate taxa, Bombus melanopygus Nylander (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Bombus edwardsii Cresson (Hymenoptera: Apidae), was investigated using genetic (enzyme electrophoretic) and morphometric analyses. The taxa differ in the color of the abdominal terga two and three, being ferruginous in B. melanopygus and black in B. edwardsii. B. edwardsii occurs throughout California, while B. melanopygus extends north through Oregon, to Alaska and Canada. They are sympatric only in southern Oregon and northern California. The taxonomic status of these taxa was questioned when Owen and Plowright (1980) reared colonies from queens collected in the area of sympatry, and discovered that pile coloration was due to a single, biallelic Mendelian gene, with the red (R) allele dominant to the black (r). Here it is shown that all the taxa, whether from California, Oregon, or Alberta, have the same electrophoretic profile and cannot be reliably distinguished by wing morphometrics. This strongly supports the conclusion that B. melanopygus and B. edwardsii are conspecific and should be synonymized under the name B. melanopygus. Hence, there is a gene frequency cline running from north to south, where the red allele is completely replaced by the black allele over a distance of about 600 km. PMID:20874396

  7. Nest wax triggers worker reproduction in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    Rottler-Hoermann, Ann-Marie; Schulz, Stefan; Ayasse, Manfred

    2016-01-01

    Social insects are well known for their high level of cooperation. Workers of the primitively eusocial bumblebee Bombus terrestris are able to produce male offspring in the presence of a queen. Nonetheless, they only compete for reproduction, in the so-called competition phase, when the workforce is large enough to support the rearing of reproductives. So far, little is known about the proximate mechanisms underlying the shift between altruism and selfish behaviour in bumblebee workers. In this study, we have examined the influence of chemical cues from the nest wax on the onset of worker reproduction. Chemical analyses of wax extracts have revealed that the patterns and amounts of cuticular lipids change considerably during colony development. These changes in wax scent mirror worker abundance and the presence of fertile workers. In bioassays with queen-right worker groups, wax affects the dominance behaviour and ovarian development of workers. When exposed to wax from a colony in competition phase, workers start to compete for reproduction. We suggest that wax scent enables workers to time their reproduction by providing essential information concerning the social condition of the colony. PMID:26909189

  8. Nest wax triggers worker reproduction in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Rottler-Hoermann, Ann-Marie; Schulz, Stefan; Ayasse, Manfred

    2016-01-01

    Social insects are well known for their high level of cooperation. Workers of the primitively eusocial bumblebee Bombus terrestris are able to produce male offspring in the presence of a queen. Nonetheless, they only compete for reproduction, in the so-called competition phase, when the workforce is large enough to support the rearing of reproductives. So far, little is known about the proximate mechanisms underlying the shift between altruism and selfish behaviour in bumblebee workers. In this study, we have examined the influence of chemical cues from the nest wax on the onset of worker reproduction. Chemical analyses of wax extracts have revealed that the patterns and amounts of cuticular lipids change considerably during colony development. These changes in wax scent mirror worker abundance and the presence of fertile workers. In bioassays with queen-right worker groups, wax affects the dominance behaviour and ovarian development of workers. When exposed to wax from a colony in competition phase, workers start to compete for reproduction. We suggest that wax scent enables workers to time their reproduction by providing essential information concerning the social condition of the colony. PMID:26909189

  9. The effects of single and mixed infections of Apicystis bombi and deformed wing virus in Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Graystock, Peter; Meeus, Ivan; Smagghe, Guy; Goulson, Dave; Hughes, William O H

    2016-03-01

    Many pollinators are currently suffering from declines, diminishing their gene pool and increasing their vulnerability to parasites. Recently, an increasing diversity of parasites has been recorded in bumblebees, yet for many, knowledge of their virulence and hence the risk their presence poses, is lacking. The deformed wing virus (DWV), known to be ubiquitous in honey bees, has now been detected in bumblebees. In addition, the neogregarine Apicystis bombi has been discovered to be more prevalent than previously thought. Here, we assess for the first time the lethal and sublethal effects of these parasites during single and mixed infections of worker bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Fifteen days after experimental exposure, 22% of bees exposed to A. bombi, 50% of bees exposed to DWV and 86% of bees exposed to both parasites had died. Bumblebees that had ingested A. bombi had increased sucrose sensitivity (SS) and a lower lipid:body size ratio than control bees. While dual infected bumblebees showed no increase in SS. Overall, we find that A. bombi exhibits both lethal and sublethal effects. DWV causes lethal effect and may reduce the sub lethal effects imposed by A. bombi. The results show that both parasites have significant, negative effects on bumblebee health, making them potentially of conservation concern. PMID:26646676

  10. Leg tendon glands in male bumblebees ( Bombus terrestris): structure, secretion chemistry, and possible functions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jarau, Stefan; Žáček, Petr; Šobotník, Jan; Vrkoslav, Vladimír; Hadravová, Romana; Coppée, Audrey; Vašíčková, Soňa; Jiroš, Pavel; Valterová, Irena

    2012-12-01

    Among the large number of exocrine glands described in bees, the tarsal glands were thought to be the source of footprint scent marks. However, recent studies showed that the compounds used for marking by stingless bees are secreted by leg tendon instead of tarsal glands. Here, we report on the structure of leg tendon glands in males of Bombus terrestris, together with a description of the chemical composition of their secretions and respective changes of both during the males' lives. The ultrastructure of leg tendon glands shows that the secretory cells are located in three independent regions, separated from each other by unmodified epidermal cells: in the femur, tibia, and basitarsus. Due to the common site of secretion release, the organ is considered a single secretory gland. The secretion of the leg tendon glands of B. terrestris males differs in its composition from those of workers and queens, in particular by (1) having larger proportions of compounds with longer chain lengths, which we identified as wax esters; and (2) by the lack of certain hydrocarbons (especially long chain dienes). Other differences consist in the distribution of double bond positions in the unsaturated hydrocarbons that are predominantly located at position 9 in males but distributed at seven to nine different positions in the female castes. Double bond positions may change chemical and physical properties of a molecule, which can be recognized by the insects and, thus, may serve to convey specific information. The function of male-specific compounds identified from their tendon glands remains elusive, but several possibilities are discussed.

  11. Bumble Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus spp.) of Interior Alaska: Species Composition, Distribution, Seasonal Biology, and Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Pampell, Rehanon; Pantoja, Alberto; Holloway, Patricia; Knight, Charles; Ranft, Richard

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Background Despite the ecological and agricultural significance of bumble bees in Alaska, very little is known and published about this important group at the regional level. The objectives of this study were to provide baseline data on species composition, distribution, seasonal biology, and parasites of the genus Bombus at three major agricultural locations within Alaska: Fairbanks, Delta Junction, and Palmer, to lay the groundwork for future research on bumble bee pollination in Alaska. New information A total of 8,250 bumble bees representing 18 species was collected from agricultural settings near Delta Junction, Fairbanks, and Palmer, Alaska in 2009 and 2010. Of the 8,250 specimens, 51% were queens, 32.7% were workers, and 16.2% were males. The species composition and relative abundances varied among sites and years. Delta Junction had the highest relative abundance of bumble bees, representing 51.6% of the specimens collected; the other two locations, Fairbanks and Palmer represented 26.5% and 21.8% of the overall catch respectively. The species collected were: Bombus bohemicus Seidl 1837 (= B. ashtoni (Cresson 1864)), B. balteatus Dahlbom 1832, B. bifarius Cresson 1878, B. centralis Cresson 1864, B. cryptarum (Fabricius 1775) (=B. moderatus Cresson 1863), B. distinguendus Morawitz 1869, B. flavidus Eversmann 1852 (=B. fernaldae Franklin 1911), B. flavifrons Cresson 1863, B. frigidus Smith 1854, B. insularis (Smith 1861), B. jonellus (Kirby 1802), B. melanopygus Nylander 1848, B. mixtus Cresson 1878, B. neoboreus Sladen 1919, B. occidentalis Greene 1858, B. perplexus Cresson 1863, B. rufocinctus Cresson 1863, and B. sylvicola Kirby 1837. Overall, the most common bumble bees near agricultural lands were B. centralis, B. frigidus, B. jonellus, B. melanopygus, B. mixtus, and B. occidentalis. Species' relative population densities and local diversity were highly variable from year to year. Bombus occidentalis, believed to be in decline in the Pacific

  12. Interspecific mating of the introduced bumblebee Bombus terrestris and the native Japanese bumblebee Bombus hypocrita sapporoensis results in inviable hybrids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kanbe, Yuya; Okada, Ikuko; Yoneda, Masahiro; Goka, Koichi; Tsuchida, Koji

    2008-10-01

    The bumblebee Bombus terrestris is not only an effective pollinator, but also a potential invasive alien species outside its native range. Recently, nearly 30% of queens of the Japanese native species Bombus hypocrita sapporoensis and B. hypocrita hypocrita were estimated to copulate with B. terrestris males in the field, suggesting that indigenous bumblebees could be genetically deteriorated through hybrid production with the introduced species. In this study, we evaluated hybrid production between the introduced B. terrestris and the indigenous B. hypocrita sapporoensis under laboratory conditions. The hatching rate of eggs derived from interspecific matings was 0% and 8.6% depending on the direction of the cross, which was significantly lower than that from intraspecific matings of B. terrestris (76.9%) and B. hypocrita sapporoensis (78.9%). Genetic studies using microsatellite markers revealed that both haploid and diploid individuals were present in the egg stage, whereas all hatched larvae were haploid. In addition, histological studies revealed that eggs derived from interspecific matings terminated development 2 days after oviposition. These results strongly suggested that eggs derived from interspecific matings are inviable due to post-mating isolation mechanisms. Mass release of exotic pollinators could cause serious population declines of native bumblebee species.

  13. Bumble Bees (Bombus spp) along a Gradient of Increasing Urbanization

    PubMed Central

    Ahrné, Karin; Bengtsson, Jan; Elmqvist, Thomas

    2009-01-01

    Background Bumble bees and other wild bees are important pollinators of wild flowers and several cultivated crop plants, and have declined in diversity and abundance during the last decades. The main cause of the decline is believed to be habitat destruction and fragmentation associated with urbanization and agricultural intensification. Urbanization is a process that involves dramatic and persistent changes of the landscape, increasing the amount of built-up areas while decreasing the amount of green areas. However, urban green areas can also provide suitable alternative habitats for wild bees. Methodology/Principal Findings We studied bumble bees in allotment gardens, i.e. intensively managed flower rich green areas, along a gradient of urbanization from the inner city of Stockholm towards more rural (periurban) areas. Keeping habitat quality similar along the urbanization gradient allowed us to separate the effect of landscape change (e.g. proportion impervious surface) from variation in habitat quality. Bumble bee diversity (after rarefaction to 25 individuals) decreased with increasing urbanization, from around eight species on sites in more rural areas to between five and six species in urban allotment gardens. Bumble bee abundance and species composition were most affected by qualities related to the management of the allotment areas, such as local flower abundance. The variability in bumble bee visits between allotment gardens was higher in an urban than in a periurban context, particularly among small and long-tongued bumble bee species. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that allotment gardens and other urban green areas can serve as important alternatives to natural habitats for many bumble bee species, but that the surrounding urban landscape influences how many species that will be present. The higher variability in abundance of certain species in the most urban areas may indicate a weaker reliability of the ecosystem service pollination in

  14. Lethal and sub-lethal effects of spinosad on bumble bees (Bombus impatiens Cresson).

    PubMed

    Morandin, Lora A; Winston, Mark L; Franklin, Michelle T; Abbott, Virginia A

    2005-07-01

    Recent developments of new families of pesticides and growing awareness of the importance of wild pollinators for crop pollination have stimulated interest in potential effects of novel pesticides on wild bees. Yet pesticide toxicity studies on wild bees remain rare, and few studies have included long-term monitoring of bumble bee colonies or testing of foraging ability after pesticide exposure. Larval bees feeding on exogenous pollen and exposed to pesticides during development may result in lethal or sub-lethal effects during the adult stage. We tested the effects of a naturally derived biopesticide, spinosad, on bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson) colony health, including adult mortality, brood development, weights of emerging bees and foraging efficiency of adults that underwent larval development during exposure to spinosad. We monitored colonies from an early stage, over a 10-week period, and fed spinosad to colonies in pollen at four levels: control, 0.2, 0.8 and 8.0 mg kg(-1), during weeks 2 through 5 of the experiment. At concentrations that bees would likely encounter in pollen in the wild (0.2-0.8 mg kg(-1)) we detected minimal negative effects to bumble bee colonies. Brood and adult mortality was high at 8.0 mg kg(-1) spinosad, about twice the level that bees would be exposed to in a 'worst case' field scenario, resulting in colony death two to four weeks after initial pesticide exposure. At more realistic concentrations there were potentially important sub-lethal effects. Adult worker bees exposed to spinosad during larval development at 0.8 mg kg(-1) were slower foragers on artificial complex flower arrays than bees from low or no spinosad treated colonies. Inclusion of similar sub-lethal assays to detect effects of pesticides on pollinators would aid in development of environmentally responsible pest management strategies. PMID:15880684

  15. Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids increases neuronal vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction in the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).

    PubMed

    Moffat, Christopher; Pacheco, Joao Goncalves; Sharp, Sheila; Samson, Andrew J; Bollan, Karen A; Huang, Jeffrey; Buckland, Stephen T; Connolly, Christopher N

    2015-05-01

    The global decline in the abundance and diversity of insect pollinators could result from habitat loss, disease, and pesticide exposure. The contribution of the neonicotinoid insecticides (e.g., clothianidin and imidacloprid) to this decline is controversial, and key to understanding their risk is whether the astonishingly low levels found in the nectar and pollen of plants is sufficient to deliver neuroactive levels to their site of action: the bee brain. Here we show that bumblebees (Bombus terrestris audax) fed field levels [10 nM, 2.1 ppb (w/w)] of neonicotinoid accumulate between 4 and 10 nM in their brains within 3 days. Acute (minutes) exposure of cultured neurons to 10 nM clothianidin, but not imidacloprid, causes a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-dependent rapid mitochondrial depolarization. However, a chronic (2 days) exposure to 1 nM imidacloprid leads to a receptor-dependent increased sensitivity to a normally innocuous level of acetylcholine, which now also causes rapid mitochondrial depolarization in neurons. Finally, colonies exposed to this level of imidacloprid show deficits in colony growth and nest condition compared with untreated colonies. These findings provide a mechanistic explanation for the poor navigation and foraging observed in neonicotinoid treated bumblebee colonies. PMID:25634958

  16. Pollen foraging: learning a complex motor skill by bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raine, Nigel E.; Chittka, Lars

    2007-06-01

    To investigate how bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) learn the complex motor skills involved in pollen foraging, we observed naïve workers foraging on arrays of nectarless poppy flowers (Papaver rhoeas) in a greenhouse. Foraging skills were quantified by measuring the pollen load collected during each foraging bout and relating this to the number of flowers visited and bout duration on two consecutive days. The pollen standing crop (PSC) in each flower decreased drastically from 0530 to 0900 hours. Therefore, we related foraging performance to the changing levels of pollen available (per flower) and found that collection rate increased over the course of four consecutive foraging bouts (comprising between 277 and 354 individual flower visits), suggesting that learning to forage for pollen represents a substantial time investment for individual foragers. The pollen collection rate and size of pollen loads collected at the start of day 2 were markedly lower than at the end of day 1, suggesting that components of pollen foraging behaviour could be subject to imperfect overnight retention. Our results suggest that learning the necessary motor skills to collect pollen effectively from morphologically simple flowers takes three times as many visits as learning how to handle the most morphologically complex flowers to extract nectar, potentially explaining why bees are more specialised in their choice of pollen flowers.

  17. The Adaptive Significance of Sensory Bias in a Foraging Context: Floral Colour Preferences in the Bumblebee Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    Raine, Nigel E.; Chittka, Lars

    2007-01-01

    Innate sensory biases could play an important role in helping naïve animals to find food. As inexperienced bees are known to have strong innate colour biases we investigated whether bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) colonies with stronger biases for the most rewarding flower colour (violet) foraged more successfully in their local flora. To test the adaptive significance of variation in innate colour bias, we compared the performance of colour-naïve bees, from nine bumblebee colonies raised from local wild-caught queens, in a laboratory colour bias paradigm using violet (bee UV-blue) and blue (bee blue) artificial flowers. The foraging performance of the same colonies was assessed under field conditions. Colonies with a stronger innate bias for violet over blue flowers in the laboratory harvested more nectar per unit time under field conditions. In fact, the colony with the strongest bias for violet (over blue) brought in 41% more nectar than the colony with the least strong bias. As violet flowers in the local area produce more nectar than blue flowers (the next most rewarding flower colour), these data are consistent with the hypothesis that local variation in flower traits could drive selection for innate colour biases. PMID:17579727

  18. Nutrient balancing of the adult worker bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) depends on the dietary source of essential amino acids

    PubMed Central

    Stabler, Daniel; Paoli, Pier P.; Nicolson, Susan W.; Wright, Geraldine A.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Animals carefully regulate the amount of protein that they consume. The quantity of individual essential amino acids (EAAs) obtained from dietary protein depends on the protein source, but how the proportion of EAAs in the diet affects nutrient balancing has rarely been studied. Recent research using the Geometric Framework for Nutrition has revealed that forager honeybees who receive much of their dietary EAAs from floral nectar and not from solid protein have relatively low requirements for dietary EAAs. Here, we examined the nutritional requirements for protein and carbohydrates of foragers of the buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris. By using protein (sodium caseinate) or an equimolar mixture of the 10 EAAs, we found that the intake target (nutritional optimum) of adult workers depended on the source and proportion of dietary EAAs. When bees consumed caseinate-containing diets in a range of ratios between 1:250 and 1:25 (protein to carbohydrate), they achieved an intake target (IT) of 1:149 (w/w). In contrast to those fed protein, bees fed the EAA diets had an IT more biased towards carbohydrates (1:560 w/w) but also had a greater risk of death than those fed caseinate. We also tested how the dietary source of EAAs affected free AAs in bee haemolymph. Bees fed diets near their IT had similar haemolymph AA profiles, whereas bees fed diets high in caseinate had elevated levels of leucine, threonine, valine and alanine in the haemolymph. We found that like honeybees, bumblebee workers prioritize carbohydrate intake and have a relatively low requirement for protein. The dietary source of EAAs influenced both the ratio of protein/EAA to carbohydrate and the overall amount of carbohydrate eaten. Our data support the idea that EAAs and carbohydrates in haemolymph are important determinants of nutritional state in insects. PMID:25617453

  19. Observational Conditioning in Flower Choice Copying by Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris): Influence of Observer Distance and Demonstrator Movement

    PubMed Central

    Avarguès-Weber, Aurore; Chittka, Lars

    2014-01-01

    Background Bumblebees use information provided inadvertently by conspecifics when deciding between different flower foraging options. Such social learning might be explained by relatively simple associative learning mechanism: the bee may learn to associate conspecifics with nectar or pollen reward through previous experience of foraging jointly. However, in some studies, observers were guided by choices of ‘demonstrators’ viewed through a screen, so no reward was given to the observers at the time of seeing other bees’ flowers choice and no demonstrator bee was present at the moment of decision. This behaviour, referred to observational conditioning, implies an additional associative step as the positive value of conspecific is transferred to the associated flower. Here we explore the role of demonstrator movement, and the distance between observers and demonstrators that is required for observation conditioning to take place. Methodology/Principal Findings We identify the conditions under which observational conditioning occurs in the widespread European species Bombus terrestris. The presence of artificial demonstrator bees leads to a significant change in individual colour preference toward the indicated colour if demonstrators were moving and observation distance was limited (15 cm), suggesting that observational conditioning could only influence relatively short-range foraging decisions. In addition, the movement of demonstrators is a crucial factor for observational conditioning, either due to the more life-like appearance of moving artificial bees or an enhanced detectability of moving demonstrators, and an increased efficiency at directing attention to the indicated flower colour. Conclusion Bumblebees possess the capacity to learn the quality of a flower by distal observation of other foragers’ choices. This confirms that social learning in bees involves more advanced processes than simple associative learning, and indicates that observational

  20. Host Range Expansion of Honey Bee Black Queen Cell Virus in the Bumble Bee, Bombus huntii

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honey bee viruses display a host range that is not restricted to their original host, European honey bees, Apis mellifera. Here we provide the first evidence that Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV), one of the most prevalent honey bee viruses, can cause an infection in both laboratory-reared and field-co...

  1. Higher order visual input to the mushroom bodies in the bee, Bombus impatiens

    PubMed Central

    Paulk, Angelique C.; Gronenberg, Wulfila

    2008-01-01

    To produce appropriate behaviors based on biologically relevant associations, sensory pathways conveying different modalities are integrated by higher-order central brain structures, such as insect mushroom bodies. To address this function of sensory integration, we characterized the structure and response of optic lobe neurons projecting to the calyces of the mushroom bodies in bees. Bees are well known for their visual learning and memory capabilities and their brains possess major direct visual input from the optic lobes to the mushroom bodies. To functionally characterize these visual inputs to the mushroom bodies, we recorded intracellularly from neurons in bumblebees (Apidae: Bombus impatiens) and a single neuron in a honeybee (Apidae: Apis mellifera) while presenting color and motion stimuli. All of the mushroom body input neurons were color sensitive while a subset was motion sensitive. Additionally, most of the mushroom body input neurons would respond to the first, but not to subsequent, presentations of repeated stimuli. In general, the medulla or lobula neurons projecting to the calyx signaled specific chromatic, temporal, and motion features of the visual world to the mushroom bodies, which included sensory information required for the biologically relevant associations bees form during foraging tasks. PMID:18635397

  2. Initial recommendations for higher-tier risk assessment protocols for bumble bees, Bombus spp. (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

    PubMed

    Cabrera, Ana R; Almanza, Maria Teresa; Cutler, G Christopher; Fischer, David L; Hinarejos, Silvia; Lewis, Gavin; Nigro, Daniel; Olmstead, Allen; Overmyer, Jay; Potter, Daniel A; Raine, Nigel E; Stanley-Stahr, Cory; Thompson, Helen; van der Steen, Jozef

    2016-04-01

    Global declines of bumble bees and other pollinator populations are of concern because of their critical role for crop production and maintenance of wild plant biodiversity. Although the consensus among scientists is that the interaction of many factors, including habitat loss, forage scarcity, diseases, parasites, and pesticides, potentially plays a role in causing these declines, pesticides have received considerable attention and scrutiny. In response, regulatory agencies have introduced more stringent pollinator testing requirements for registration and reregistration of pesticides, to ensure that the risks to pollinators are minimized. In this context, guidelines for testing bumble bees (Bombus spp.) in regulatory studies are not yet available, and a pressing need exists to develop suitable protocols for routine higher-tier studies with these non-Apis sp., social bees. To meet this need, Bayer CropScience LP, Syngenta Crop Protection LLC US, and Valent USA. Corporation organized a workshop bringing together a group of global experts on bumble bee behavior, ecology, and ecotoxicology to discuss and develop draft protocols for both semi-field (Tier II) and field (Tier III) studies. The workshop was held May 8-9, 2014, at the Bayer Bee Care Center, North Carolina, USA. The participants represented academic, consulting, and industry scientists from Europe, Canada, the United States, and Brazil. The workshop identified a clear protection goal and generated proposals for basic experimental designs, relevant measurements, and endpoints for both semifield (tunnel) and field tests. These initial recommendations are intended to form the basis of discussions to help advance the development of appropriate protocol guidelines. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2016;12:222-229. © 2015 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management Published by SETAC. PMID:26108565

  3. Macronutrient ratios in pollen shape bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) foraging strategies and floral preferences.

    PubMed

    Vaudo, Anthony D; Patch, Harland M; Mortensen, David A; Tooker, John F; Grozinger, Christina M

    2016-07-12

    To fuel their activities and rear their offspring, foraging bees must obtain a sufficient quality and quantity of nutritional resources from a diverse plant community. Pollen is the primary source of proteins and lipids for bees, and the concentrations of these nutrients in pollen can vary widely among host-plant species. Therefore we hypothesized that foraging decisions of bumble bees are driven by both the protein and lipid content of pollen. By successively reducing environmental and floral cues, we analyzed pollen-foraging preferences of Bombus impatiens in (i) host-plant species, (ii) pollen isolated from these host-plant species, and (iii) nutritionally modified single-source pollen diets encompassing a range of protein and lipid concentrations. In our semifield experiments, B impatiens foragers exponentially increased their foraging rates of pollen from plant species with high protein:lipid (P:L) ratios; the most preferred plant species had the highest ratio (∼4.6:1). These preferences were confirmed in cage studies where, in pairwise comparisons in the absence of other floral cues, B impatiens workers still preferred pollen with higher P:L ratios. Finally, when presented with nutritionally modified pollen, workers were most attracted to pollen with P:L ratios of 5:1 and 10:1, but increasing the protein or lipid concentration (while leaving ratios intact) reduced attraction. Thus, macronutritional ratios appear to be a primary factor driving bee pollen-foraging behavior and may explain observed patterns of host-plant visitation across the landscape. The nutritional quality of pollen resources should be taken into consideration when designing conservation habitats supporting bee populations. PMID:27357683

  4. Reliability of the entomovector technology using Prestop-Mix and Bombus terrestris L. as a fungal disease biocontrol method in open field.

    PubMed

    Karise, Reet; Dreyersdorff, Gerit; Jahani, Mona; Veromann, Eve; Runno-Paurson, Eve; Kaart, Tanel; Smagghe, Guy; Mänd, Marika

    2016-01-01

    Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr. is a major plant pathogen, and a new approach is needed for its control in strawberry to minimise the increasing use of synthetic fungicides. The biofungicide Prestop-Mix, which contains Gliocladium catenulatum, is effective against Botrytis infections; however, the need for frequent applications increases the costs for farmers. Here, we demonstrate that bumble bees, Bombus terrestris L., effectively disseminate the preparation onto flowers in open field conditions. Over the course of three years, we found a highly significant decrease in the rate of Botrytis infection. Pathogen control was achieved with relatively low numbers of G. catenulatum spores per flower, even using flowers that are not highly attractive to bumble bees. An even distribution of spores was detected up to 100 m from the hives, either due to primary inoculation by bumble bees or secondary distribution by other flower visitors such as honey bees and solitary bees. We showed that the application of a biocontrol agent by bumble bees is reliable for the use of environmentally friendly pest control strategies in northern climatic conditions. This low cost technology is especially relevant for organic farming. This study provides valuable information for introducing this method into practice in open strawberry fields. PMID:27530075

  5. Reliability of the entomovector technology using Prestop-Mix and Bombus terrestris L. as a fungal disease biocontrol method in open field

    PubMed Central

    Karise, Reet; Dreyersdorff, Gerit; Jahani, Mona; Veromann, Eve; Runno-Paurson, Eve; Kaart, Tanel; Smagghe, Guy; Mänd, Marika

    2016-01-01

    Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr. is a major plant pathogen, and a new approach is needed for its control in strawberry to minimise the increasing use of synthetic fungicides. The biofungicide Prestop-Mix, which contains Gliocladium catenulatum, is effective against Botrytis infections; however, the need for frequent applications increases the costs for farmers. Here, we demonstrate that bumble bees, Bombus terrestris L., effectively disseminate the preparation onto flowers in open field conditions. Over the course of three years, we found a highly significant decrease in the rate of Botrytis infection. Pathogen control was achieved with relatively low numbers of G. catenulatum spores per flower, even using flowers that are not highly attractive to bumble bees. An even distribution of spores was detected up to 100 m from the hives, either due to primary inoculation by bumble bees or secondary distribution by other flower visitors such as honey bees and solitary bees. We showed that the application of a biocontrol agent by bumble bees is reliable for the use of environmentally friendly pest control strategies in northern climatic conditions. This low cost technology is especially relevant for organic farming. This study provides valuable information for introducing this method into practice in open strawberry fields. PMID:27530075

  6. Reproductive disturbance of Japanese bumblebees by the introduced European bumblebee Bombus terrestris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kondo, Natsuko Ito; Yamanaka, Daisei; Kanbe, Yuya; Kunitake, Yoko Kawate; Yoneda, Masahiro; Tsuchida, Koji; Goka, Koichi

    2009-04-01

    The European bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, is an invasive eusocial species whose distribution is expanding greatly beyond its native range because numerous colonies are imported to or locally produced in non-native countries for pollination of agricultural crops. Closely related species exist in Japan where the unrestricted import and use of B. terrestris has resulted in the establishment of wild colonies. Laboratory studies previously showed that B. terrestris and Japanese native species can copulate and produce fertilized eggs. Although these eggs do not hatch, the interspecific mating can cause a serious reproductive disturbance to native bumblebees. In this study, we determined the frequencies of interspecies mating between B. terrestris males and native bumblebee queens in the wild on the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu by analyzing the DNA sequences of spermatozoa stored in spermathecae of native queens. We found that 20.2% of B. hypocrita hypocrita queens and 30.2% of B. hypocrita sapporoensis queens had spermatozoa of B. terrestris males in their spermathecae. Given that a Bombus queen generally mates only once in her life, such high frequencies of interspecific mating with B. terrestris pose serious threats to the populations of native bumblebees in Japan.

  7. Israeli acute paralysis virus associated paralysis symptoms, viral tissue distribution and Dicer-2 induction in bumblebee workers (Bombus terrestris).

    PubMed

    Wang, Haidong; Meeus, Ivan; Smagghe, Guy

    2016-08-01

    Although it is known that Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) can cause bee mortality, the symptoms of paralysis and the distribution of the virus in different body tissues and their potential to respond with an increase of the siRNA antiviral immune system have not been studied. In this project we worked with Bombus terrestris, which is one of the most numerous bumblebee species in Europe and an important pollinator for wild flowers and many crops in agriculture. Besides the classic symptoms of paralysis and trembling prior to death, we report a new IAPV-related symptom, crippled/immobilized forelegs. Reverse-transcriptase quantitative PCR showed that IAPV accumulates in different body tissues (midgut, fat body, brain and ovary). The highest levels of IAPV were observed in the fat body. With fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) we detected IAPV in the Kenyon cells of mushroom bodies and neuropils from both antennal and optic lobes of the brain in IAPV-infected workers. Finally, we observed an induction of Dicer-2, a core gene of the RNAi antiviral immune response, in the IAPV-infected tissues of B. terrestris workers. According to our results, tissue tropism and the induction strength of Dicer-2 could not be correlated with virus-related paralysis symptoms. PMID:27230225

  8. Tubulinosema pampeana sp. n. (Microsporidia, Tubulinosematidae), a pathogen of the South American bumble bee Bombus atratus.

    PubMed

    Plischuk, Santiago; Sanscrainte, Neil D; Becnel, James J; Estep, Alden S; Lange, Carlos E

    2015-03-01

    An undescribed microsporidium was detected and isolated from the South American bumble bee Bombus atratus collected in the Pampas region of Argentina. Infection intensity in workers averaged 8.2 × 10(7)spores/bee. The main site of infection was adipose tissue where hypertrophy of adipocytes resulted in cyst-like body formation. Mature spores were ovoid and monomorphic. They measured 4.00 μm × 2.37 μm (fresh) or 3.98 μm × 1.88 μm (fixed). All stages were diplokariotic and developed in direct contact with host cytoplasm. Isofilar polar filament was arranged in 16 coils in one or, posteriorly, two layers. Coiling angle was variable, between perpendicular and almost parallel to major spore axis. Late meronts and sporogonial stages were surrounded by vesicles of approximately 60 nm in diameter. Based on both new and already designed primers, a 1827 bp (SSUrRNA, ITS, LSUrRNA) sequence was obtained. Data analyses suggest that this microsporidium is a new species of the genus Tubulinosema. The name Tubulinosema pampeana sp. n. is proposed. PMID:25637516

  9. DNA Amplification from Pin Mounted Bumble Bees (Bombus) in a Museum Collection: Effects of Fragment Size and Specimen Age on Successful PCR

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Historic data in the form of pinned specimens in entomological collections offer the potential to determine trends in genetic diversity of bumble bees (Bombus). We screened eight microsatellite loci for amplification success in pinned bumble bee specimens from the U.S. National Pollinating Insects C...

  10. USBombus, a database of contemporary survey data for North American Bumble Bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Bombus) distributed in the United States

    PubMed Central

    Lozier, Jeffrey; Strange, James P.; Ikerd, Harold; Griswold, Terry; Cordes, Nils; Solter, Leellen; Stewart, Isaac; Cameron, Sydney A.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Background Bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Bombus) are pollinators of wild and economically important flowering plants. However, at least four bumble bee species have declined significantly in population abundance and geographic range relative to historic estimates, and one species is possibly extinct. While a wealth of historic data is now available for many of the North American species found to be in decline in online databases, systematic survey data of stable species is still not publically available. The availability of contemporary survey data is critically important for the future monitoring of wild bumble bee populations. Without such data, the ability to ascertain the conservation status of bumble bees in the United States will remain challenging. New information This paper describes USBombus, a large database that represents the outcomes of one of the largest standardized surveys of bumble bee pollinators (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Bombus) globally. The motivation to collect live bumble bees across the United States was to examine the decline and conservation status of Bombus affinis, B. occidentalis, B. pensylvanicus, and B. terricola. Prior to our national survey of bumble bees in the United States from 2007 to 2010, there have only been regional accounts of bumble bee abundance and richness. In addition to surveying declining bumble bees, we also collected and documented a diversity of co-occuring bumble bees. However we have not yet completely reported their distribution and diversity onto a public online platform. Now, for the first time, we report the geographic distribution of bumble bees reported to be in decline (Cameron et al. 2011), as well as bumble bees that appeared to be stable on a large geographic scale in the United States (not in decline). In this database we report a total of 17,930 adult occurrence records across 397 locations and 39 species of Bombus detected in our national survey. We summarize their abundance and

  11. Are queen Bombus terrestris giant workers or are workers dwarf queens? Solving the 'chicken and egg' problem in a bumblebee species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cnaani, Jonathan; Hefetz, Abraham

    2001-01-01

    In the social bee, Bombus terrestris, the two castes differ in size and physiology, but not in any other morphological and anatomical aspects. The size differences between the castes are the result of longer instar duration in prospective queen larvae. It appears that queen larvae are programmed to have a higher molting weight at the end of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th instars. Calculation of the growth ratio, the ratio between the logarithm of molting weight at two successive instars, revealed that queen larvae have a linear growth ratio over the entire larval development as predicted by Dyar's rule. In the worker larvae, in contrast, linearity of the growth ratio breaks after the second instar, resulting in larval molting at lower weights than expected by Dyar's rule. We therefore suggest that workers' development is abnormally shortened, either by parental manipulation or by adopting a different growth plan in response to the queen's signal.

  12. Pollination Services Provided by Bees in Pumpkin Fields Supplemented with Either Apis mellifera or Bombus impatiens or Not Supplemented

    PubMed Central

    Petersen, Jessica D.; Reiners, Stephen; Nault, Brian A.

    2013-01-01

    Pollinators provide an important service in many crops. Managed honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) are used to supplement pollination services provided by wild bees with the assumption that they will enhance pollination, fruit set and crop yield beyond the levels provided by the wild bees. Recent declines in managed honey bee populations have stimulated interest in finding alternative managed pollinators to service crops. In the eastern U.S., managed hives of the native common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson) may be an excellent choice. To examine this issue, a comprehensive 2-yr study was conducted to compare fruit yield and bee visits to flowers in pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) fields that were either supplemented with A. mellifera hives, B. impatiens hives or were not supplemented. We compared pumpkin yield, A. mellifera flower visitation frequency and B. impatiens flower visitation frequency between treatments. Results indicated that supplementing pumpkin fields with either A. mellifera or B. impatiens hives did not increase their visitation to pumpkin flowers or fruit yield compared with those that were not supplemented. Next, the relationship between frequency of pumpkin flower visitation by the most prominent bee species (Peponapis pruinosa (Say), B. impatiens and A. mellifera) and fruit yield was determined across all pumpkin fields sampled. Fruit yield increased as the frequency of flower visits by A. mellifera and B. impatiens increased in 2011 and 2012, respectively. These results suggest that supplementation with managed bees may not improve pumpkin production and that A. mellifera and B. impatiens are important pollinators of pumpkin in our system. PMID:23894544

  13. Potential increase in mating frequency of queens in feral colonies of Bombus terrestris introduced into Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inoue, Maki N.; Saito, Fuki; Tsuchida, Koji; Goka, Koichi

    2012-10-01

    With the exception of several species, bumblebees are monandrous. We examined mating frequency in feral colonies of the introduced bumblebee Bombus terrestris in Japan . Using microsatellite markers, genotyping of sperm DNA stored in the spermatheca of nine queens detected multiple insemination paternities in one queen; the others were singly mated. The average effective paternity frequency estimated from the genotypes of queens and workers was 1.23; that estimated from the workers' genotype alone was 2.12. These values were greater than those of laboratory-reared colonies in the native ranges of B. terrestris. The genotypes of one or two workers did not match those of their queens or showed paternities different from those of their nestmates; this may have arisen from either queen takeover or drifting of workers. These alien workers were responsible for the heterogeneous genotype distribution within each B. terrestris colony, resulting in higher estimates of paternity frequency than of insemination frequency. The high mating frequency of introduced B. terrestris may have occurred by artificial selection through mass breeding for commercialization. Moreover, polyandrous queens may be selectively advantageous, because reproduction by such queens is less likely to be disturbed by interspecific mating than that by monandrous queens.

  14. Nest Initiation in Three North American Species of Bumble Bees (Bombus): Effects of Gyne Number and Worker Helpers on Colony Size and Establishment Success

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Three species of bumble bees, Bombus appositus, B. bifarius, and B. centralis (Hymenoptera: Apidae) were evaluated for nest initiation success under three sets of initial conditions. In the spring, queens of each species were caught in the wild and introduced to nest boxes in one of three ways. Qu...

  15. Dynamics of immune system gene expression upon bacterial challenge and wounding in a social insect (Bombus terrestris).

    PubMed

    Erler, Silvio; Popp, Mario; Lattorff, H Michael G

    2011-01-01

    The innate immune system which helps individuals to combat pathogens comprises a set of genes representing four immune system pathways (Toll, Imd, JNK and JAK/STAT). There is a lack of immune genes in social insects (e.g. honeybees) when compared to Diptera. Potentially, this might be compensated by an advanced system of social immunity (synergistic action of several individuals). The bumble bee, Bombus terrestris, is a primitively eusocial species with an annual life cycle and colonies headed by a single queen. We used this key pollinator to study the temporal dynamics of immune system gene expression in response to wounding and bacterial challenge.Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) (abaecin, defensin 1, hymenoptaecin) were strongly up-regulated by wounding and bacterial challenge, the latter showing a higher impact on the gene expression level. Sterile wounding down-regulated TEP A, an effector gene of the JAK/STAT pathway, and bacterial infection influenced genes of the Imd (relish) and JNK pathway (basket). Relish was up-regulated within the first hour after bacterial challenge, but decreased strongly afterwards. AMP expression following wounding and bacterial challenge correlates with the expression pattern of relish whereas correlated expression with dorsal was absent. Although expression of AMPs was high, continuous bacterial growth was observed throughout the experiment.Here we demonstrate for the first time the temporal dynamics of immune system gene expression in a social insect. Wounding and bacterial challenge affected the innate immune system significantly. Induction of AMP expression due to wounding might comprise a pre-adaptation to accompanying bacterial infections. Compared with solitary species this social insect exhibits reduced immune system efficiency, as bacterial growth could not be inhibited. A negative feedback loop regulating the Imd-pathway is suggested. AMPs, the end product of the Imd-pathway, inhibited the up-regulation of the transcription

  16. Using Diagnostic Radioentomology for Non-Invasive Observations of Colonies of the Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    Greco, Mark K.; Sadd, Ben M.

    2012-01-01

    Bumblebees have been the focus of a broad range of scientific research due to their behavior, social life, and a number of other intriguing traits. Current methods for examining their nest structure, such as natal cells and contents of storage cells, are destructive in nature because the cells need to be opened for physical inspections. This research describes how the internal structures of the artificial nests of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris L. (Hymentoptera: Apidae) were non-invasively viewed and assessed by using diagnostic radioentomology. For the first time, B. terrestris nest structures, and their contents such as larvae, pupae and eggs, were non-invaseively viewed and assessed. This technique will enable future experiments to take morphological measurements of egg, larval, and pupal development over time. Moreover, combining these measurements with measures of food-storage will provide a good assessment of colony health. The method will also allow tracking of individually marked adults, to monitor their behaviour and help gain a better understanding of the processes involved in the global declines of B. terrestris, which will in turn promote better management of these valuable pollinators. PMID:23421622

  17. Insect vision models under scrutiny: what bumblebees ( Bombus terrestris terrestris L.) can still tell us

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Telles, Francismeire Jane; Rodríguez-Gironés, Miguel A.

    2015-02-01

    Three contending models address the ability of bees to detect and discriminate colours: the colour opponent coding (COC) model, the colour hexagon (CH) model and the receptor noise-limited (RN) model, but few studies attempt to determine which model fits experimental data best. To assess whether the models provide an accurate description of bumblebee colour space, we trained bees to discriminate four colour pairs. The perceptual distance between the colours of each pair was similar according to the CH model but varied widely according to the COC and RN models. The time that bees required to select a flower and the proportion of correct choices differed between groups: decision times decreased as achromatic contrast increased, and the proportion of correct choices increased with achromatic contrast and perceptual distance, as predicted by the COC and RN models. These results suggest that both chromatic and achromatic contrasts affected the discriminability of colour pairs. Since flower colour affects the foraging choices of bees and foraging choices affect the reproductive success of plants, a better understanding of which model is more accurate under each circumstance is required to predict bee behaviour and the ecological implications of flower choice and colour.

  18. In vivo study of Dicer-2-mediated immune response of the small interfering RNA pathway upon systemic infections of virulent and avirulent viruses in Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Niu, Jinzhi; Smagghe, Guy; De Coninck, Dieter I M; Van Nieuwerburgh, Filip; Deforce, Dieter; Meeus, Ivan

    2016-03-01

    Recent studies suggest a potent role of the small interfering RNA (siRNA) pathway in the control of bee viruses and its usefulness to tackle these viral diseases. However, the involvement of the siRNA pathway in the defense against different bee viruses is still poorly understood. Therefore, in this report, we comprehensively analyzed the response of the siRNA pathway in bumblebees of Bombus terrestris to systemic infections of the virulent Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) and the avirulent slow bee paralysis virus (SBPV). Our results showed that IAPV and SBPV infections induced the expression of Dicer-2. IAPV infections also triggered the production of predominantly 22 nt-long virus-derived siRNAs (vsiRNAs). Intriguingly, these 22 nt-long vsiRNAs showed a high proportion of antigenomic IAPV sequences. Conversely, these predominantly 22 nt-long vsiRNAs of SBPV were not detected in SBPV infected bees. Furthermore, an "RNAi-of-RNAi" experiment on Dicer-2 did not result in altered genome copy numbers of IAPV (n = 17-18) and also not of SBPV (n = 11-12). Based on these results, we can speculate about the importance of the siRNA pathway in bumblebees for the antiviral response. During infection of IAPV, this pathway is probably recruited but it might be insufficient to control viral infection in our experimental setup. The host can control SBPV infection, but aside from the induction of Dicer-2 expression, no further evidence of the antiviral activity of the siRNA pathway was observed. This report may also enhance the current understanding of the siRNA pathway in the innate immunity of non-model insects upon different viral infections. PMID:26711439

  19. Age- and task-dependent foraging gene expression in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Tobback, Julie; Mommaerts, Veerle; Vandersmissen, Hans Peter; Smagghe, Guy; Huybrechts, Roger

    2011-01-01

    In eusocial insects, the division of labor within a colony, based on either age or size, is correlated with a differential foraging (for) gene expression and PKG activity. This article presents in the first part a study on the for gene, encoding a cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Cloning of the open reading frame allowed phylogenetic tracing, which showed conservation of PKGs among social insects. Our results confirm the proposed role for PKGs in division of labor. Btfor gene expression is significantly higher in the larger foragers compared with the smaller sized nurses. More importantly, we discovered an age-related decrease in Btfor expression in both nursing and foraging bumblebees. We therefore speculate that the presence of BtFOR is required for correct adaptation to new external stimuli and rapid learning for foraging. In a second series of experiments, worker bumblebees of B. terrestris were treated with two insecticides imidacloprid and kinoprene, which have shown to cause impaired foraging behavior. Compared with controls, only the latter treatment resulted in a decreased Btfor expression, which concurs with a stimulation of ovarian growth and a shift in labor toward nest-related tasks. The data are discussed in relation to Btfor expression in the complex physiological event of foraging and side-effects by pesticides. PMID:21136525

  20. Protein-poor diet reduces host-specific immune gene expression in Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    Brunner, Franziska S.; Schmid-Hempel, Paul; Barribeau, Seth M.

    2014-01-01

    Parasites infect hosts non-randomly as genotypes of hosts vary in susceptibility to the same genotypes of parasites, but this specificity may be modulated by environmental factors such as nutrition. Nutrition plays an important role for any physiological investment. As immune responses are costly, resource limitation should negatively affect immunity through trade-offs with other physiological requirements. Consequently, nutritional limitation should diminish immune capacity in general, but does it also dampen differences among hosts? We investigated the effect of short-term pollen deprivation on the immune responses of our model host Bombus terrestris when infected with the highly prevalent natural parasite Crithidia bombi. Bumblebees deprived of pollen, their protein source, show reduced immune responses to infection. They failed to upregulate a number of genes, including antimicrobial peptides, in response to infection. In particular, they also showed less specific immune expression patterns across individuals and colonies. These findings provide evidence for how immune responses on the individual-level vary with important elements of the environment and illustrate how nutrition can functionally alter not only general resistance, but also alter the pattern of specific host–parasite interactions. PMID:24850921

  1. Molecular heterochrony and the evolution of sociality in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

    PubMed Central

    Woodard, S. Hollis; Bloch, Guy M.; Band, Mark R.; Robinson, Gene E.

    2014-01-01

    Sibling care is a hallmark of social insects, but its evolution remains challenging to explain at the molecular level. The hypothesis that sibling care evolved from ancestral maternal care in primitively eusocial insects has been elaborated to involve heterochronic changes in gene expression. This elaboration leads to the prediction that workers in these species will show patterns of gene expression more similar to foundress queens, who express maternal care behaviour, than to established queens engaged solely in reproductive behaviour. We tested this idea in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) using a microarray platform with approximately 4500 genes. Unlike the wasp Polistes metricus, in which support for the above prediction has been obtained, we found that patterns of brain gene expression in foundress and queen bumblebees were more similar to each other than to workers. Comparisons of differentially expressed genes derived from this study and gene lists from microarray studies in Polistes and the honeybee Apis mellifera yielded a shared set of genes involved in the regulation of related social behaviours across independent eusocial lineages. Together, these results suggest that multiple independent evolutions of eusociality in the insects might have involved different evolutionary routes, but nevertheless involved some similarities at the molecular level. PMID:24552837

  2. Hazards and uptake of chitin synthesis inhibitors in bumblebees Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Mommaerts, Veerle; Sterk, Guido; Smagghe, Guy

    2006-08-01

    This research project examined the potential hazards of a major class of insect growth regulators (IGRs) to survival, reproduction and larval growth in bumblebees Bombus terrestris L. Eight chitin synthesis inhibitors (CSIs) were tested: buprofezin, cyromazine, diflubenzuron, flucycloxuron, flufenoxuron, lufenuron, novaluron and teflubenzuron. These different IGRs, which are important in the control of pest insects in greenhouses, were applied via three different routes of exposure under laboratory conditions: dermal contact, and orally via the drinking of sugar/water and via pollen. The compounds were tested at their respective maximum field recommended concentrations (MFRC) and also in dose-response assays to calculate LC(50) values. In general, none of the CSIs showed acute worker toxicity. However, there was a dramatic reduction in brood production, especially after oral treatment with pollen and sugar/water. Conspicuously, egg fertility was reduced in all treatments with diflubenzuron and teflubenzuron. In addition to egg mortality, the worker bumblebees removed larvae from the treated nest, and in most cases these individuals were dead first-second instars. Under a binocular microscope, such larvae showed an abnormally formed cuticle leading to mechanical weakness and death. In another series of experiments using (14)C-diflubenzuron and (14)C-flufenoxuron, cuticular penetration in workers was studied for a better understanding of the differences in toxicity. With (14)C-diflubenzuron, transovarial transport and accumulation in the deposited eggs supported the strong reproductive effects. Overall, the present results suggest that CSIs should be applied with caution in combination with bumblebees. The compatibility of each compound to be used in combination with B. terrestris is discussed in relation to calculated LC(50) values, routes of uptake and effects. PMID:16786494

  3. Lethal and sublethal effects of azadirachtin on the bumblebee Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

    PubMed

    Barbosa, Wagner Faria; De Meyer, Laurens; Guedes, Raul Narciso C; Smagghe, Guy

    2015-01-01

    Azadirachtin is a biorational insecticide commonly reported as selective to a range of beneficial insects. Nonetheless, only few studies have been carried out with pollinators, usually emphasizing the honeybee Apis mellifera and neglecting other important pollinator species such as the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Here, lethal and sublethal effects of azadirachtin were studied on B. terrestris via oral exposure in the laboratory to bring out the potential risks of the compound to this important pollinator. The compound was tested at different concentrations above and below the maximum concentration that is used in the field (32 mg L(-1)). As most important results, azadirachtin repelled bumblebee workers in a concentration-dependent manner. The median repellence concentration (RC50) was estimated as 504 mg L(-1). Microcolonies chronically exposed to azadirachtin via treated sugar water during 11 weeks in the laboratory exhibited a high mortality ranging from 32 to 100 % with a range of concentrations between 3.2 and 320 mg L(-1). Moreover, no reproduction was scored when concentrations were higher than 3.2 mg L(-1). At 3.2 mg L(-1), azadirachtin significantly inhibited the egg-laying and, consequently, the production of drones during 6 weeks. Ovarian length decreased with the increase of the azadirachtin concentration. When azadirachtin was tested under an experimental setup in the laboratory where bumblebees need to forage for food, the sublethal effects were stronger as the numbers of drones were reduced already with a concentration of 0.64 mg L(-1). Besides, a negative correlation was found between the body mass of male offspring and azadirachtin concentration. In conclusion, our results as performed in the laboratory demonstrated that azadirachtin can affect B. terrestris with a range of sublethal effects. Taking into account that sublethal effects are as important as lethal effects for the development and survival of the colonies of B. terrestris

  4. Can red flowers be conspicuous to bees? Bombus dahlbomii and South American temperate forest flowers as a case in point.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Harms, J; Palacios, A G; Márquez, N; Estay, P; Arroyo, M T K; Mpodozis, J

    2010-02-15

    It has been argued that trichromatic bees with photoreceptor spectral sensitivity peaks in the ultraviolet (UV), blue and green areas of the spectrum are blind to long wavelengths (red to humans). South American temperate forests (SATF) contain a large number of human red-looking flowers that are reported to be visited by the bumblebee Bombus dahlbomii. In the present study, B. dahlbomii's spectral sensitivity was measured through electroretinogram (ERG) recordings. No extended sensitivity to long wavelengths was found in B. dahlbomii. The spectral reflectance curves from eight plant species with red flowers were measured. The color loci occupied by these flowers in the bee color space was evaluated using the receptor noise-limited model. Four of the plant species have pure red flowers with low levels of chromatic contrast but high levels of negative L-receptor contrast. Finally, training experiments were performed in order to assess the role of achromatic cues in the detection and discrimination of red targets by B. dahlbomii. The results of the training experiments suggest that the bumblebee relies on achromatic contrast provided by the L-receptor to detect and discriminate red targets. These findings are discussed in the context of the evolutionary background under which the relationship between SATF species and their flower visitors may have evolved. PMID:20118307

  5. A second generation genetic map of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758) reveals slow genome and chromosome evolution in the Apidae

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The bumblebee Bombus terrestris is an ecologically and economically important pollinator and has become an important biological model system. To study fundamental evolutionary questions at the genomic level, a high resolution genetic linkage map is an essential tool for analyses ranging from quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping to genome assembly and comparative genomics. We here present a saturated linkage map and match it with the Apis mellifera genome using homologous markers. This genome-wide comparison allows insights into structural conservations and rearrangements and thus the evolution on a chromosomal level. Results The high density linkage map covers ~ 93% of the B. terrestris genome on 18 linkage groups (LGs) and has a length of 2'047 cM with an average marker distance of 4.02 cM. Based on a genome size of ~ 430 Mb, the recombination rate estimate is 4.76 cM/Mb. Sequence homologies of 242 homologous markers allowed to match 15 B. terrestris with A. mellifera LGs, five of them as composites. Comparing marker orders between both genomes we detect over 14% of the genome to be organized in synteny and 21% in rearranged blocks on the same homologous LG. Conclusions This study demonstrates that, despite the very high recombination rates of both A. mellifera and B. terrestris and a long divergence time of about 100 million years, the genomes' genetic architecture is highly conserved. This reflects a slow genome evolution in these bees. We show that data on genome organization and conserved molecular markers can be used as a powerful tool for comparative genomics and evolutionary studies, opening up new avenues of research in the Apidae. PMID:21247459

  6. Colonies of bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) produce fewer workers, less bee biomass, and have smaller mother queens following fungicide exposure

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bees provide vital pollination services to the majority of flowering plants in both natural and agricultural systems. Unfortunately, both native and managed bee populations are experiencing serious declines, threatening the persistence of these plants and crops. Agricultural chemicals are one possib...

  7. Unraveling the venom proteome of the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) by integrating a combinatorial peptide ligand library approach with FT-ICR MS.

    PubMed

    Van Vaerenbergh, Matthias; Debyser, Griet; Smagghe, Guy; Devreese, Bart; de Graaf, Dirk C

    2015-08-01

    Within the Apidae, the largest family of bees with over 5600 described species, the honeybee is the sole species with a well studied venom proteome. So far, only little research has focused on bumblebee venom. Recently, the genome sequence of the European large earth bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) became available and this allowed the first in-depth proteomic analysis of its venom composition. We identified 57 compounds, with 52 of them never described in bumblebee venom. Remarkably, 72% of the detected compounds were found to have a honeybee venom homolog, which reflects the similar defensive function of both venoms and the high degree of homology between both genomes. However, both venoms contain a selection of species-specific toxins, revealing distinct damaging effects that may have evolved in response to species-specific attackers. Further, this study extends the list of potential venom allergens. The availability of both the honeybee and bumblebee venom proteome may help to develop a strategy that solves the current issue of false double sensitivity in allergy diagnosis, which is caused by cross-reactivity between both venoms. A correct diagnosis is important as it is recommended to perform an immunotherapy with venom of the culprit species. PMID:26071081

  8. Dumb and Lazy? A Comparison of Color Learning and Memory Retrieval in Drones and Workers of the Buff-Tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, by Means of PER Conditioning

    PubMed Central

    Lichtenstein, Leonie; Sommerlandt, Frank M. J.; Spaethe, Johannes

    2015-01-01

    More than 100 years ago, Karl von Frisch showed that honeybee workers learn and discriminate colors. Since then, many studies confirmed the color learning capabilities of females from various hymenopteran species. Yet, little is known about visual learning and memory in males despite the fact that in most bee species males must take care of their own needs and must find rewarding flowers to obtain food. Here we used the proboscis extension response (PER) paradigm to study the color learning capacities of workers and drones of the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris. Light stimuli were paired with sucrose reward delivered to the insects’ antennae and inducing a reflexive extension of the proboscis. We evaluated color learning (i.e. conditioned PER to color stimuli) in absolute and differential conditioning protocols and mid-term memory retention was measured two hours after conditioning. Different monochromatic light stimuli in combination with neutral density filters were used to ensure that the bumblebees could only use chromatic and not achromatic (e.g. brightness) information. Furthermore, we tested if bees were able to transfer the learned information from the PER conditioning to a novel discrimination task in a Y-maze. Both workers and drones were capable of learning and discriminating between monochromatic light stimuli and retrieved the learned stimulus after two hours. Drones performed as well as workers during conditioning and in the memory test, but failed in the transfer test in contrast to workers. Our data clearly show that bumblebees can learn to associate a color stimulus with a sugar reward in PER conditioning and that both workers and drones reach similar acquisition and mid-term retention performances. Additionally, we provide evidence that only workers transfer the learned information from a Pavlovian to an operant situation. PMID:26230643

  9. Dumb and Lazy? A Comparison of Color Learning and Memory Retrieval in Drones and Workers of the Buff-Tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, by Means of PER Conditioning.

    PubMed

    Lichtenstein, Leonie; Sommerlandt, Frank M J; Spaethe, Johannes

    2015-01-01

    More than 100 years ago, Karl von Frisch showed that honeybee workers learn and discriminate colors. Since then, many studies confirmed the color learning capabilities of females from various hymenopteran species. Yet, little is known about visual learning and memory in males despite the fact that in most bee species males must take care of their own needs and must find rewarding flowers to obtain food. Here we used the proboscis extension response (PER) paradigm to study the color learning capacities of workers and drones of the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris. Light stimuli were paired with sucrose reward delivered to the insects' antennae and inducing a reflexive extension of the proboscis. We evaluated color learning (i.e. conditioned PER to color stimuli) in absolute and differential conditioning protocols and mid-term memory retention was measured two hours after conditioning. Different monochromatic light stimuli in combination with neutral density filters were used to ensure that the bumblebees could only use chromatic and not achromatic (e.g. brightness) information. Furthermore, we tested if bees were able to transfer the learned information from the PER conditioning to a novel discrimination task in a Y-maze. Both workers and drones were capable of learning and discriminating between monochromatic light stimuli and retrieved the learned stimulus after two hours. Drones performed as well as workers during conditioning and in the memory test, but failed in the transfer test in contrast to workers. Our data clearly show that bumblebees can learn to associate a color stimulus with a sugar reward in PER conditioning and that both workers and drones reach similar acquisition and mid-term retention performances. Additionally, we provide evidence that only workers transfer the learned information from a Pavlovian to an operant situation. PMID:26230643

  10. The abundance and pollen foraging behaviour of bumble bees in relation to population size of whortleberry (Vaccinium uliginosum).

    PubMed

    Mayer, Carolin; Michez, Denis; Chyzy, Alban; Brédat, Elise; Jacquemart, Anne-Laure

    2012-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation can have severe effects on plant pollinator interactions, for example changing the foraging behaviour of pollinators. To date, the impact of plant population size on pollen collection by pollinators has not yet been investigated. From 2008 to 2010, we monitored nine bumble bee species (Bombus campestris, Bombus hortorum s.l., Bombus hypnorum, Bombus lapidarius, Bombus pascuorum, Bombus pratorum, Bombus soroensis, Bombus terrestris s.l., Bombus vestalis s.l.) on Vaccinium uliginosum (Ericaceae) in up to nine populations in Belgium ranging in size from 80 m(2) to over 3.1 ha. Bumble bee abundance declined with decreasing plant population size, and especially the proportion of individuals of large bumble bee species diminished in smaller populations. The most remarkable and novel observation was that bumble bees seemed to switch foraging behaviour according to population size: while they collected both pollen and nectar in large populations, they largely neglected pollen collection in small populations. This pattern was due to large bumble bee species, which seem thus to be more likely to suffer from pollen shortages in smaller habitat fragments. Comparing pollen loads of bumble bees we found that fidelity to V. uliginosum pollen did not depend on plant population size but rather on the extent shrub cover and/or openness of the site. Bumble bees collected pollen only from three plant species (V.uliginosum, Sorbus aucuparia and Cytisus scoparius). We also did not discover any pollination limitation of V. uliginosum in small populations. We conclude that habitat fragmentation might not immediately threaten the pollination of V. uliginosum, nevertheless, it provides important nectar and pollen resources for bumble bees and declining populations of this plant could have negative effects for its pollinators. The finding that large bumble bee species abandon pollen collection when plant populations become small is of interest when considering plant and

  11. Bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus spp.) of interior Alaska: Species composition, distribution, seasonal biology, and parasites

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Despite the ecological and agricultural significance of bumble bees in Alaska, very little is known and published about this important group at the regional level. The objectives of this study were to provide baseline data on species composition, distribution, seasonal biology, and parasites of the ...

  12. Assessment of side-effects by Ludox TMA silica nanoparticles following a dietary exposure on the bumblebee Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Mommaerts, Veerle; Jodko, Katarzyna; Thomassen, Leen C J; Martens, Johan A; Kirsch-Volders, Micheline; Smagghe, Guy

    2012-08-01

    We assessed lethal and sublethal side-effects of Ludox TMA silica nanoparticles on a terrestrial pollinator, Bombus terrestris (Linnaeus), via a dietary exposure. Dynamic light scattering analysis confirmed that silica Ludox TMA nanoparticles remained in suspension in the drinking sugar water. Exposure of bumblebee microcolonies during 7 weeks to the different nanoparticle concentrations (high: 34, 170 and 340 mg/l and low: 34 and 340 μg/l) did not cause worker mortality compared to the controls. Also no effect on the worker foraging behavior was observed after exposure to nanoparticles concentrations up to 340 μg/l. In contrast, the high concentrations (≥34 mg/l) resulted in a total loss of reproduction. Using histological analysis we confirmed severe midgut epithelial injury in intoxicated workers (≥34 mg/l). Despite the fact that these concentrations are much higher than the predicted environmental concentrations, precaution is still needed as information regarding their fate in the terrestrial environment and their potency to bioaccumulate and biomagnificate is lacking. PMID:21675822

  13. The Effect of Oral Administration of dsRNA on Viral Replication and Mortality in Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Piot, Niels; Snoeck, Simon; Vanlede, Maarten; Smagghe, Guy; Meeus, Ivan

    2015-06-01

    Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), a single-stranded RNA virus, has a worldwide distribution and affects honeybees as well as other important pollinators. IAPV infection in honeybees has been successfully repressed by exploiting the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway of the insect's innate immune response with virus-specific double stranded RNA (dsRNA). Here we investigated the effect of IAPV infection in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris and its tissue tropism. B. terrestris is a common pollinator of wild flowers in Europe and is used for biological pollination in agriculture. Infection experiments demonstrated a similar pathology and tissue tropism in bumblebees as reported for honeybees. The effect of oral administration of virus-specific dsRNA was examined and resulted in an effective silencing of the virus, irrespective of the length. Interestingly, we observed that non-specific dsRNA was also efficient against IAPV. However further study is needed to clarify the precise mechanism behind this effect. Finally we believe that our data are indicative of the possibility to use dsRNA for a broad range viral protection in bumblebees. PMID:26110584

  14. The Effect of Oral Administration of dsRNA on Viral Replication and Mortality in Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    Piot, Niels; Snoeck, Simon; Vanlede, Maarten; Smagghe, Guy; Meeus, Ivan

    2015-01-01

    Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), a single-stranded RNA virus, has a worldwide distribution and affects honeybees as well as other important pollinators. IAPV infection in honeybees has been successfully repressed by exploiting the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway of the insect’s innate immune response with virus-specific double stranded RNA (dsRNA). Here we investigated the effect of IAPV infection in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris and its tissue tropism. B. terrestris is a common pollinator of wild flowers in Europe and is used for biological pollination in agriculture. Infection experiments demonstrated a similar pathology and tissue tropism in bumblebees as reported for honeybees. The effect of oral administration of virus-specific dsRNA was examined and resulted in an effective silencing of the virus, irrespective of the length. Interestingly, we observed that non-specific dsRNA was also efficient against IAPV. However further study is needed to clarify the precise mechanism behind this effect. Finally we believe that our data are indicative of the possibility to use dsRNA for a broad range viral protection in bumblebees. PMID:26110584

  15. Quantitative Trait Loci for Light Sensitivity, Body Weight, Body Size, and Morphological Eye Parameters in the Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    Maebe, Kevin; Meeus, Ivan; De Riek, Jan; Smagghe, Guy

    2015-01-01

    Bumblebees such as Bombus terrestris are essential pollinators in natural and managed ecosystems. In addition, this species is intensively used in agriculture for its pollination services, for instance in tomato and pepper greenhouses. Here we performed a quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis on B. terrestris using 136 microsatellite DNA markers to identify genes linked with 20 traits including light sensitivity, body size and mass, and eye and hind leg measures. By composite interval mapping (IM), we found 83 and 34 suggestive QTLs for 19 of the 20 traits at the linkage group wide significance levels of p = 0.05 and 0.01, respectively. Furthermore, we also found five significant QTLs at the genome wide significant level of p = 0.05. Individual QTLs accounted for 7.5-53.3% of the phenotypic variation. For 15 traits, at least one QTL was confirmed with multiple QTL model mapping. Multivariate principal components analysis confirmed 11 univariate suggestive QTLs but revealed three suggestive QTLs not identified by the individual traits. We also identified several candidate genes linked with light sensitivity, in particular the Phosrestin-1-like gene is a primary candidate for its phototransduction function. In conclusion, we believe that the suggestive and significant QTLs, and markers identified here, can be of use in marker-assisted breeding to improve selection towards light sensitive bumblebees, and thus also the pollination service of bumblebees. PMID:25928544

  16. Comparative genetic analyses of historical and contemporary collections highlight contrasting demographic histories for the bumble bees Bombus pensylvanicus and B. impatiens in Illinois.

    PubMed

    Lozier, Jeffrey D; Cameron, Sydney A

    2009-05-01

    Direct comparison of genetic patterns between museum specimens and contemporary collections can be a powerful approach for detecting recent demographic changes. Using microsatellite markers, we examined historical and contemporary genetic variation from an apparently declining bumble bee species, Bombus pensylvanicus, and from a stable species, Bombus impatiens, in central Illinois. For each species, we genotyped specimens from the Illinois Natural History Survey collected from three populations between 1969-1972 and from a resurvey of the same areas conducted in 2008. Population structure in B. pensylvanicus increased markedly over the last four decades (from theta(ST) = 0.001 to 0.027) while no structure was detected in B. impatiens for either time period (theta(ST) = -0.006 to -0.003). Changes in genetic diversity were not significant for either species, although small reductions were observed for B. pensylvanicus in all three populations. Coalescent simulations incorporating both contemporary and historical samples suggest that this small change is not surprising for recent population declines, as large reductions in genetic diversity were only apparent under the most severe bottleneck scenarios. These results demonstrate how comparisons of genetic patterns between temporal periods and species can help elucidate potential threats to population health and suggest several strategies that might be useful in the conservation of B. pensylvanicus in the Midwestern USA. PMID:19344350

  17. Location, location, location: larvae position inside the nest is correlated with adult body size in worker bumble-bees (Bombus impatiens).

    PubMed

    Couvillon, Margaret J; Dornhaus, Anna

    2009-07-01

    Social insects display task-related division of labour. In some species, division of labour is related to differences in body size, and worker caste members display morphological adaptations suited for particular tasks. Bumble-bee workers (Bombus spp.) can vary in mass by eight- to tenfold within a single colony, which previous work has linked to division of labour. However, little is known about the proximate mechanism behind the production of this wide range of size variation within the worker caste. Here, we quantify the larval feeding in Bombus impatiens in different nest zones of increasing distance from the centre. There was a significant difference in the number of feedings per larva across zones, with a significant decrease in feeding rates as one moved outwards from the centre of the nest. Likewise, the diameter of the pupae in the peripheral zones was significantly smaller than that of pupae in the centre. Therefore, we conclude that the differential feeding of larvae within a nest, which leads to the size variation within the worker caste, is based on the location of brood clumps. Our work is consistent with the hypothesis that some larvae are 'forgotten', providing a possible first mechanism for the creation of size polymorphism in B. impatiens. PMID:19364744

  18. Location, location, location: larvae position inside the nest is correlated with adult body size in worker bumble-bees (Bombus impatiens)

    PubMed Central

    Couvillon, Margaret J.; Dornhaus, Anna

    2009-01-01

    Social insects display task-related division of labour. In some species, division of labour is related to differences in body size, and worker caste members display morphological adaptations suited for particular tasks. Bumble-bee workers (Bombus spp.) can vary in mass by eight- to tenfold within a single colony, which previous work has linked to division of labour. However, little is known about the proximate mechanism behind the production of this wide range of size variation within the worker caste. Here, we quantify the larval feeding in Bombus impatiens in different nest zones of increasing distance from the centre. There was a significant difference in the number of feedings per larva across zones, with a significant decrease in feeding rates as one moved outwards from the centre of the nest. Likewise, the diameter of the pupae in the peripheral zones was significantly smaller than that of pupae in the centre. Therefore, we conclude that the differential feeding of larvae within a nest, which leads to the size variation within the worker caste, is based on the location of brood clumps. Our work is consistent with the hypothesis that some larvae are ‘forgotten’, providing a possible first mechanism for the creation of size polymorphism in B. impatiens. PMID:19364744

  19. Population genetic structure of Bombus terrestris in Europe: Isolation and genetic differentiation of Irish and British populations.

    PubMed

    Moreira, António S; Horgan, Finbarr G; Murray, Tomás E; Kakouli-Duarte, Thomais

    2015-07-01

    The genetic structure of the earth bumblebee (Bombus terrestris L.) was examined across 22 wild populations and two commercially reared populations using eight microsatellite loci and two mitochondrial genes. Our study included wild bumblebee samples from six populations in Ireland, one from the Isle of Man, four from Britain and 11 from mainland Europe. A further sample was acquired from New Zealand. Observed levels of genetic variability and heterozygosity were low in Ireland and the Isle of Man, but relatively high in continental Europe and among commercial populations. Estimates of Fst revealed significant genetic differentiation among populations. Bayesian cluster analysis indicated that Irish populations were highly differentiated from British and continental populations, the latter two showing higher levels of admixture. The data suggest that the Irish Sea and prevailing south westerly winds act as a considerable geographical barrier to gene flow between populations in Ireland and Britain; however, some immigration from the Isle of Man to Ireland was detected. The results are discussed in the context of the recent commercialization of bumblebees for the European horticultural industry. PMID:25958977

  20. Does the queen win it all? Queen-worker conflict over male production in the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alaux, Cédric; Savarit, Fabrice; Jaisson, Pierre; Hefetz, Abraham

    Social insects provide a useful model for studying the evolutionary balance between cooperation and conflict linked to genetic structure. We investigated the outcome of this conflict in the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, whose annual colony life cycle is characterized by overt competition over male production. We established artificial colonies composed of a queen and unrelated workers by daily exchange of callow workers between colony pairs of distinct genetic make-up. Using microsatellite analysis, this procedure allowed an exact calculation of the proportion of worker-derived males. The development and social behavior of these artificial colonies were similar to those of normal colonies. Despite a high worker reproduction attempt (63.8% of workers had developed ovaries and 38.4% were egg-layers), we found that on average 95% of the males produced during the competition phase (CPh) were queen-derived. However, in four colonies, queen death resulted in a considerable amount of worker-derived male production. The different putative ultimate causes of this efficient control by the queen are discussed, and we suggest a possible scenario of an evolutionary arms race that may occur between these two female castes.

  1. Visual detection of diminutive floral guides in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris and in the honeybee Apis mellifera.

    PubMed

    Lunau, Klaus; Unseld, Katrin; Wolter, Franziska

    2009-12-01

    Many flowers display colour patterns comprising a large peripheral colour area that serves to attract flower visitors from some distance, and a small central, contrastingly coloured area made up by stamens or floral guides. In this study, we scaled down the size of floral guides to detect the minimal size bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) and honeybees (Apis mellifera) require for guidance. We analyzed the approach and the precise contact of the antennal tips with the floral guide of artificial flowers which precedes landing and inspection. Both bumblebees and honeybees were able to make antennal contact with circular floral guides which were 2 mm in diameter; bumblebees performed better than honeybees and antennated also at floral guides smaller than 2 mm. In discrimination experiments with bumblebees, a minimum floral guide size of 2 mm was required for discrimination between artificial flowers with and without floral guides. With increasing experience bumblebees targeted close to the site of reward instead of making antennal contact with the floral guide, whereas honeybees did not alter their initial behaviour with growing experience. Bumblebees and honeybees spontaneously target diminutive floral guides to achieve physical contact with flowers by means of their antennae which helps them to inspect flowers. PMID:19813017

  2. Visual targeting of components of floral colour patterns in flower-naïve bumblebees ( Bombus terrestris; Apidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lunau, Klaus; Fieselmann, Gabriele; Heuschen, Britta; van de Loo, Antje

    2006-07-01

    Floral colour patterns are contrasting colour patches on flowers, a part of the signalling apparatus that was considered to display shape and colour signals used by flower-visitors to detect flowers and locate the site of floral reward. Here, we show that flower-naïve bumblebees ( Bombus terrestris) spontaneously direct their approach towards the outside margin of artificial flowers, which provides contrast between these dummy flowers and the background. If no floral guides are present, the bumblebees continue to approach the margin and finally touch the marginal area of the dummy flower with the tips of their antennae. Whilst approaching dummy flowers that also have a central floral guide, the bumblebees change their direction of flight: Initially, they approach the margin, later they switch to approaching the colour guide, and finally they precisely touch the floral guide with their antennae. Variation of the shape of equally sized dummy flowers did not alter the bumblebees’ preferential orientation towards the guide. Using reciprocal combinations of guide colour and surrounding colour, we showed that the approach from a distance towards the corolla and the antennal contact with the guide are elicited by the same colour parameter: spectral purity. As a consequence, the dummy flowers eliciting the greatest frequency of antennal reactions at the guide are those that combine a floral guide of high spectral purity with a corolla of less spectral purity. Our results support the hypothesis that floral guides direct bumblebees’ approaches to the site of first contact with the flower, which is achieved by the tips of the antennae.

  3. Characterisation of Acetyl-CoA Thiolase: The First Enzyme in the Biosynthesis of Terpenic Sex Pheromone Components in the Labial Gland of Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Brabcová, Jana; Demianová, Zuzana; Kindl, Jiří; Pichová, Iva; Valterová, Irena; Zarevúcka, Marie

    2015-05-01

    Buff-tailed bumblebees, Bombus terrestris, use a male sex pheromone for premating communication. Its main component is a sesquiterpene, 2,3-dihydrofarnesol. This paper reports the isolation of a thiolase (acetyl-CoA thiolase, AACT_BT), the first enzyme involved in the biosynthetic pathway leading to formation of isoprenoids in the B. terrestris male sex pheromone. Characterisation of AACT_BT might contribute to a better understanding of pheromonogenesis in the labial gland of B. terrestris males. The protein was purified to apparent homogeneity by column chromatography with subsequent stepwise treatment. AACT_BT showed optimum acetyltransferase activity at pH 7.1 and was strongly inhibited by iodoacetamide. The enzyme migrated as a band with an apparent mass of 42.9 kDa on SDS-PAGE. MS analysis of an AACT_BT tryptic digest revealed high homology to representatives of the thiolase family. AACT_BT has 96 % amino acid sequence identity with the previously reported Bombus impatiens thiolase. PMID:25801592

  4. Detoxification and stress response genes expressed in a western North American bumble bee, Bombus huntii (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees are generalist floral visitors, meaning they pollinate a wide variety of plants. Their pollination activities expose them to both plant toxins and pesticides, yet little is known about what detoxification pathways are active in bumble bees, how the expression of detoxification genes chan...

  5. Ambient Air Temperature Does Not Predict whether Small or Large Workers Forage in Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens)

    PubMed Central

    Couvillon, Margaret J.; Fitzpatrick, Ginny; Dornhaus, Anna

    2015-01-01

    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 different 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. PMID:26005222

  6. Bombus huntii, Bombus impatiens and Bombus vosnesenskii (Hymenoptera: Apidae) pollinate greenhouse-grown tomatoes in western North America

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees (Bombus) are the primary pollinators of tomatoes grown in greenhouses and can significantly increase fruit weight compared to tomatoes that receive no supplemental pollination. Due to mounting concerns over the transportation of bumble bees outside of their native ranges, several specie...

  7. A scientific note on the comparison of airborne volatiles produced by commercial bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) and honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Small hive beetles have been documented as being able to successfully invade commercial bumble bee colonies and find the hives through odors produced by the colonies. We tested the hypothesis that volatiles emanating from Bumble bee and Honeybee colonies were similar by collecting volatiles from wo...

  8. 16S rRNA Amplicon Sequencing Demonstrates that Indoor-Reared Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) Harbor a Core Subset of Bacteria Normally Associated with the Wild Host

    PubMed Central

    Meeus, Ivan; Parmentier, Laurian; Billiet, Annelies; Maebe, Kevin; Van Nieuwerburgh, Filip; Deforce, Dieter; Wäckers, Felix; Vandamme, Peter; Smagghe, Guy

    2015-01-01

    A MiSeq multiplexed 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing of the gut microbiota of wild and indoor-reared Bombus terrestris (bumblebees) confirmed the presence of a core set of bacteria, which consisted of Neisseriaceae (Snodgrassella), Orbaceae (Gilliamella), Lactobacillaceae (Lactobacillus), and Bifidobacteriaceae (Bifidobacterium). In wild B. terrestris we detected several non-core bacteria having a more variable prevalence. Although Enterobacteriaceae are unreported by non next-generation sequencing studies, it can become a dominant gut resident. Furthermore the presence of some non-core lactobacilli were associated with the relative abundance of bifidobacteria. This association was not observed in indoor-reared bumblebees lacking the non-core bacteria, but having a more standardized microbiota compared to their wild counterparts. The impact of the bottleneck microbiota of indoor-reared bumblebees when they are used in the field for pollination purpose is discussed. PMID:25923917

  9. Kodamaea ohmeri (Ascomycota: Saccharomycotina) presence in commercial Bombus impatiens Cresson and feral Bombus pensylvanicus DeGeer (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In this study, eight commercial and three feral bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson and Bombus pensylvanicus DeGeer respectively, Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies were tested for the presence of Kodamaea ohmeri (Ascomycota: Saccharomycotina), a yeast known to attract small hive beetles (SHB) (Aethina ...

  10. Differential sensitivity of honey bees and bumble bees to a dietary insecticide (imidacloprid).

    PubMed

    Cresswell, James E; Page, Christopher J; Uygun, Mehmet B; Holmbergh, Marie; Li, Yueru; Wheeler, Jonathan G; Laycock, Ian; Pook, Christopher J; de Ibarra, Natalie Hempel; Smirnoff, Nick; Tyler, Charles R

    2012-12-01

    Currently, there is concern about declining bee populations and the sustainability of pollination services. One potential threat to bees is the unintended impact of systemic insecticides, which are ingested by bees in the nectar and pollen from flowers of treated crops. To establish whether imidacloprid, a systemic neonicotinoid and insect neurotoxin, harms individual bees when ingested at environmentally realistic levels, we exposed adult worker bumble bees, Bombus terrestris L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), and honey bees, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), to dietary imidacloprid in feeder syrup at dosages between 0.08 and 125μg l(-1). Honey bees showed no response to dietary imidacloprid on any variable that we measured (feeding, locomotion and longevity). In contrast, bumble bees progressively developed over time a dose-dependent reduction in feeding rate with declines of 10-30% in the environmentally relevant range of up to 10μg l(-1), but neither their locomotory activity nor longevity varied with diet. To explain their differential sensitivity, we speculate that honey bees are better pre-adapted than bumble bees to feed on nectars containing synthetic alkaloids, such as imidacloprid, by virtue of their ancestral adaptation to tropical nectars in which natural alkaloids are prevalent. We emphasise that our study does not suggest that honey bee colonies are invulnerable to dietary imidacloprid under field conditions, but our findings do raise new concern about the impact of agricultural neonicotinoids on wild bumble bee populations. PMID:23044068

  11. Bumblebee calligraphy: the design and control of flight motifs in the learning and return flights of Bombus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Philippides, Andrew; de Ibarra, Natalie Hempel; Riabinina, Olena; Collett, Thomas S

    2013-03-15

    Many wasps and bees learn the position of their nest relative to nearby visual features during elaborate 'learning' flights that they perform on leaving the nest. Return flights to the nest are thought to be patterned so that insects can reach their nest by matching their current view to views of their surroundings stored during learning flights. To understand how ground-nesting bumblebees might implement such a matching process, we have video-recorded the bees' learning and return flights and analysed the similarities and differences between the principal motifs of their flights. Loops that take bees away from and bring them back towards the nest are common during learning flights and less so in return flights. Zigzags are more prominent on return flights. Both motifs tend to be nest based. Bees often both fly towards and face the nest in the middle of loops and at the turns of zigzags. Before and after flight direction and body orientation are aligned, the two diverge from each other so that the nest is held within the bees' fronto-lateral visual field while flight direction relative to the nest can fluctuate more widely. These and other parallels between loops and zigzags suggest that they are stable variations of an underlying pattern, which enable bees to store and reacquire similar nest-focused views during learning and return flights. PMID:23447668

  12. Bombus huntii, Bombus impatiens, and Bombus vosnesenskii (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Pollinate Greenhouse-Grown Tomatoes in Western North America.

    PubMed

    Strange, James P

    2015-06-01

    Bumble bees (Bombus) are the primary pollinators of tomatoes grown in greenhouses and can significantly increase fruit weight compared with tomatoes that receive no supplemental pollination. More than a million colonies are sold worldwide annually to meet pollination needs. Due to mounting concerns over the transportation of bumble bees outside of their native ranges, several species native to western North American are currently being investigated as potential commercial pollinators. Here, two western, Bombus huntii Greene and Bombus vosnesenskii Radoszkowski, and one eastern species, Bombus impatiens Cresson, are compared for their efficacy as pollinators of greenhouse-grown tomatoes. In two experiments, colonies were placed in greenhouses and compared with control plants that received no supplemental pollination. In the first experiment, seed set was significantly increased with B. huntii pollination in one variety of cherry tomatoes. In the second experiment comparing all three bumble bee species, fruit weight was an average of 25.2 g heavier per fruit pollinated by bees versus the control, and the number of days to harvest was 2.9 d shorter for bee-pollinated fruit. In some rounds of pollination, differences were found among bumble bee species, but these were inconsistent across replicates and not statistically significant overall. Additionally, fruit weight was shown to be highly correlated to fruit diameter and seed set in all tests and, thus, is shown to be a reliable metric for assessing pollination in future studies. These results suggest that commercialization of western bumble bees is a viable alternative to the current practices of moving of nonnative bees into western North America to pollinate tomatoes. PMID:26470206

  13. Polyphenism in social insects: insights from a transcriptome-wide analysis of gene expression in the life stages of the key pollinator, Bombus terrestris

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Understanding polyphenism, the ability of a single genome to express multiple morphologically and behaviourally distinct phenotypes, is an important goal for evolutionary and developmental biology. Polyphenism has been key to the evolution of the Hymenoptera, and particularly the social Hymenoptera where the genome of a single species regulates distinct larval stages, sexual dimorphism and physical castes within the female sex. Transcriptomic analyses of social Hymenoptera will therefore provide unique insights into how changes in gene expression underlie such complexity. Here we describe gene expression in individual specimens of the pre-adult stages, sexes and castes of the key pollinator, the buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Results cDNA was prepared from mRNA from five life cycle stages (one larva, one pupa, one male, one gyne and two workers) and a total of 1,610,742 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were generated using Roche 454 technology, substantially increasing the sequence data available for this important species. Overlapping ESTs were assembled into 36,354 B. terrestris putative transcripts, and functionally annotated. A preliminary assessment of differences in gene expression across non-replicated specimens from the pre-adult stages, castes and sexes was performed using R-STAT analysis. Individual samples from the life cycle stages of the bumblebee differed in the expression of a wide array of genes, including genes involved in amino acid storage, metabolism, immunity and olfaction. Conclusions Detailed analyses of immune and olfaction gene expression across phenotypes demonstrated how transcriptomic analyses can inform our understanding of processes central to the biology of B. terrestris and the social Hymenoptera in general. For example, examination of immunity-related genes identified high conservation of important immunity pathway components across individual specimens from the life cycle stages while olfactory-related genes

  14. Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides.

    PubMed

    Kessler, Sébastien C; Tiedeken, Erin Jo; Simcock, Kerry L; Derveau, Sophie; Mitchell, Jessica; Softley, Samantha; Radcliffe, Amy; Stout, Jane C; Wright, Geraldine A

    2015-05-01

    The impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators is highly controversial. Sublethal concentrations alter the behaviour of social bees and reduce survival of entire colonies. However, critics argue that the reported negative effects only arise from neonicotinoid concentrations that are greater than those found in the nectar and pollen of pesticide-treated plants. Furthermore, it has been suggested that bees could choose to forage on other available flowers and hence avoid or dilute exposure. Here, using a two-choice feeding assay, we show that the honeybee, Apis mellifera, and the buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, do not avoid nectar-relevant concentrations of three of the most commonly used neonicotinoids, imidacloprid (IMD), thiamethoxam (TMX), and clothianidin (CLO), in food. Moreover, bees of both species prefer to eat more of sucrose solutions laced with IMD or TMX than sucrose alone. Stimulation with IMD, TMX and CLO neither elicited spiking responses from gustatory neurons in the bees' mouthparts, nor inhibited the responses of sucrose-sensitive neurons. Our data indicate that bees cannot taste neonicotinoids and are not repelled by them. Instead, bees preferred solutions containing IMD or TMX, even though the consumption of these pesticides caused them to eat less food overall. This work shows that bees cannot control their exposure to neonicotinoids in food and implies that treating flowering crops with IMD and TMX presents a sizeable hazard to foraging bees. PMID:25901684

  15. Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kessler, Sébastien C.; Tiedeken, Erin Jo; Simcock, Kerry L.; Derveau, Sophie; Mitchell, Jessica; Softley, Samantha; Stout, Jane C.; Wright, Geraldine A.

    2015-05-01

    The impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators is highly controversial. Sublethal concentrations alter the behaviour of social bees and reduce survival of entire colonies. However, critics argue that the reported negative effects only arise from neonicotinoid concentrations that are greater than those found in the nectar and pollen of pesticide-treated plants. Furthermore, it has been suggested that bees could choose to forage on other available flowers and hence avoid or dilute exposure. Here, using a two-choice feeding assay, we show that the honeybee, Apis mellifera, and the buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, do not avoid nectar-relevant concentrations of three of the most commonly used neonicotinoids, imidacloprid (IMD), thiamethoxam (TMX), and clothianidin (CLO), in food. Moreover, bees of both species prefer to eat more of sucrose solutions laced with IMD or TMX than sucrose alone. Stimulation with IMD, TMX and CLO neither elicited spiking responses from gustatory neurons in the bees' mouthparts, nor inhibited the responses of sucrose-sensitive neurons. Our data indicate that bees cannot taste neonicotinoids and are not repelled by them. Instead, bees preferred solutions containing IMD or TMX, even though the consumption of these pesticides caused them to eat less food overall. This work shows that bees cannot control their exposure to neonicotinoids in food and implies that treating flowering crops with IMD and TMX presents a sizeable hazard to foraging bees.

  16. PCR reveals high prevalence of non-sporulating Nosema bombi(Microsporidia) infections in bumble bees (Bombus)in northern Arizona

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    About 20% of bumble bee species are in decline in North America, and the microsporidian pathogen, Nosema bombi, may be a factor in these declines. We performed a comprehensive survey of N. bombi infections in the bumble bee communities throughout the flight season along an elevation gradient in Nort...

  17. Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides

    PubMed Central

    Simcock, Kerry L.; Derveau, Sophie; Mitchell, Jessica; Softley, Samantha; Stout, Jane C.; Wright, Geraldine A.

    2015-01-01

    The impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on insect pollinators is highly controversial. Sublethal concentrations alter the behaviour of social bees and reduce survival of entire colonies1-3. However, critics argue that the reported negative effects only arise from neonicotinoid concentrations that are greater than those found in the nectar and pollen of pesticide-treated plants4. Furthermore, it has been suggested that bees could choose to forage on other available flowers and hence avoid or dilute exposure4,5. Here, using a two-choice feeding assay, we show that the honeybee, Apis mellifera, and the buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, do not avoid nectar-relevant concentrations of three of the most commonly-used neonicotinoids, imidacloprid (IMD), thiamethoxam (TMX), and clothianidin (CLO) in food. Moreover, bees of both species prefer to eat more of sucrose solutions laced with IMD or TMX than sucrose alone. Stimulation with IMD, TMX, and CLO neither elicited spiking responses from gustatory neurons in the bees’ mouthparts nor inhibited the responses of sucrose-sensitive neurons. Our data indicate that bees cannot taste neonicotinoids and are not repelled by them. Instead, bees preferred solutions containing IMD or TMX even though the consumption of these pesticides caused them to eat less food overall. This work shows that bees cannot control their exposure to neonicotinoids in food and implies that treating flowering crops with IMD and TMX presents a significant hazard to foraging bees. PMID:25901684

  18. From silkworms to bees: Diseases of beneficial insects

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The diseases of the silkworm (Bombyx mori) and managed bees, including the honey bee (Apis mellifera), bumbles bees (Bombus spp.), the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Megachile rotundata), and mason bees (Osmia spp.) are reviewed, with diagnostic descriptions and a summary of control methods for production...

  19. Historical changes in northeastern US bee pollinators related to shared ecological traits.

    PubMed

    Bartomeus, Ignasi; Ascher, John S; Gibbs, Jason; Danforth, Bryan N; Wagner, David L; Hedtke, Shannon M; Winfree, Rachael

    2013-03-19

    Pollinators such as bees are essential to the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. However, despite concerns about a global pollinator crisis, long-term data on the status of bee species are limited. We present a long-term study of relative rates of change for an entire regional bee fauna in the northeastern United States, based on >30,000 museum records representing 438 species. Over a 140-y period, aggregate native species richness weakly decreased, but richness declines were significant only for the genus Bombus. Of 187 native species analyzed individually, only three declined steeply, all of these in the genus Bombus. However, there were large shifts in community composition, as indicated by 56% of species showing significant changes in relative abundance over time. Traits associated with a declining relative abundance include small dietary and phenological breadth and large body size. In addition, species with lower latitudinal range boundaries are increasing in relative abundance, a finding that may represent a response to climate change. We show that despite marked increases in human population density and large changes in anthropogenic land use, aggregate native species richness declines were modest outside of the genus Bombus. At the same time, we find that certain ecological traits are associated with declines in relative abundance. These results should help target conservation efforts focused on maintaining native bee abundance and diversity and therefore the important ecosystems services that they provide. PMID:23487768

  20. Varroa destructor Macula-like virus, Lake Sinai virus and other new RNA viruses in wild bumblebee hosts (Bombus pascuorum, Bombus lapidarius and Bombus pratorum).

    PubMed

    Parmentier, Laurian; Smagghe, Guy; de Graaf, Dirk C; Meeus, Ivan

    2016-02-01

    Pollinators such as bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are in decline worldwide which poses a threat not only for ecosystem biodiversity but also to human crop production services. One main cause of pollinator decline may be the infection and transmission of diseases including RNA viruses. Recently, new viruses have been discovered in honeybees, but information on the presence of these in wild bumblebees is largely not available. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of new RNA viruses in Bombus species, and can report for the first time Varroa destructor Macula-like virus (VdMLV) and Lake Sinai virus (LSV) infection in multiple wild bumblebee hosts of Bombus pascuorum, Bombus lapidarius and Bombus pratorum. We sampled in 4 locations in Flanders, Belgium. Besides, we confirmed Slow bee paralysis virus (SBPV) in wild bumblebees, but no positive samples were obtained for Big Sioux river virus (BSRV). Secondly, we screened for the influence of apiaries on the prevalence of these viruses. Our results indicated a location effect for the prevalence of VdMLV in Bombus species, with a higher prevalence in the proximity of honeybee apiaries mainly observed in one location. For LSV, the prevalence was not different in the proximity or at a 1.5 km-distance of apiaries, but we reported a different isolate with similarities to LSV-2 and "LSV-clade A" as described by Ravoet et al. (2015), which was detected both in Apis mellifera and Bombus species. In general, our results indicate the existence of a disease pool of new viruses that seems to be associated to a broad range of Apoidae hosts, including multiple Bombus species. PMID:26706994

  1. The status of Bombus occidentalis and B. moderatus in Alaska with special focus on Nosema bombi incidence

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Technical Abstract: Four North American bumble bee species in the subgenus Bombus sensu stricto, including Bombus occidentalis (Hymenoptera: Apidae), are experiencing dramatic declines in population abundance, range and genetic diversity. The prevailing hypothesis concerning their decline is the ‘s...

  2. Bifidobacterium commune sp. nov. isolated from the bumble bee gut.

    PubMed

    Praet, Jessy; Meeus, Ivan; Cnockaert, Margo; Aerts, Maarten; Smagghe, Guy; Vandamme, Peter

    2015-05-01

    Bifidobacteria were isolated from the gut of Bombus lapidarius, Bombus terrestris and Bombus hypnorum bumble bees by direct isolation on modified trypticase phytone yeast extract agar. The MALDI-TOF MS profiles of four isolates (LMG 28292(T), R-53560, R-53124, LMG 28626) were found to be identical and did not cluster with the profiles of established Bifidobacterium species. Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence of strain LMG 28292(T) revealed that LMG 28292(T) is most closely related to the Bifidobacterium bohemicum type strain (96.8%), which was also isolated from bumble bee gut specimens. The hsp60 gene of strain LMG 28292(T) shows 85.8% sequence similarity to that of the B. bohemicum type strain. The (GTG)5-PCR profiles and the hsp60 sequences of all four isolates were indistinguishable; however, three different phenotypes were observed among the four isolates by means of the API 50CHL microtest system. Based on the phylogenetic, genotypic and phenotypic data, we propose to classify the four isolates within the novel species Bifidobacterium commune sp. nov., with LMG 28292(T) (= DSM 28792(T)) as the type strain. PMID:25753540

  3. Bee

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bee, Claire Preston, is a book written generally for the layperson, but may be of interest to those working in entomology. This review seeks to help entomologists who may have interest in the subject to decide whether or not to invest time into reading the book. The review is generally positive an...

  4. Impacts of the use of nonnative commercial bumble bees for pollinator supplementation in raspberry.

    PubMed

    Lye, G C; Jennings, S N; Osborne, J L; Goulson, D

    2011-02-01

    Evidence for pollinator declines has led to concern that inadequate pollination services may limit crop yields. The global trade in commercial bumble bee (Bombus spp.) colonies provides pollination services for both glasshouse and open-field crops. For example, in the United Kingdom, commercial colonies of nonnative subspecies of the bumble bee Bombus terrestris L. imported from mainland Europe are widely used for the pollination of raspberries, Rubus idaeus L. The extent to which these commercial colonies supplement the services provided by wild pollinators has not been formally quantified and the impact of commercial bumble bees on native bees visiting the crop is unknown. Here, the impacts of allowing commercially available bumble bee colonies to forage on raspberry canes are assessed in terms of the yield of marketable fruit produced and the pollinator communities found foraging on raspberry flowers. No differences were found in the abundance, diversity, or composition of social bee species observed visiting raspberry flowers when commercial bumble bees were deployed compared with when they were absent. However, weight of marketable raspberries produced increased when commercial bees were present, indicating that wild pollinator services alone are inadequate for attaining maximum yields. The findings of the study suggests that proportional yield increases associated with deployment of commercial colonies may be small, but that nevertheless, investment in commercial colonies for raspberry pollination could produce very significant increases in net profit for the grower. Given potential environmental risks associated with the importation of nonnative bumble bees, the development of alternative solutions to the pollination deficit in raspberry crops in the United Kingdom may be beneficial. PMID:21404847

  5. Phylogenetic analysis of honey bee behavioral evolution.

    PubMed

    Raffiudin, Rika; Crozier, Ross H

    2007-05-01

    DNA sequences from three mitochondrial (rrnL, cox2, nad2) and one nuclear gene (itpr) from all 9 known honey bee species (Apis), a 10th possible species, Apis dorsata binghami, and three outgroup species (Bombus terrestris, Melipona bicolor and Trigona fimbriata) were used to infer Apis phylogenetic relationships using Bayesian analysis. The dwarf honey bees were confirmed as basal, and the giant and cavity-nesting species to be monophyletic. All nodes were strongly supported except that grouping Apis cerana with A. nigrocincta. Two thousand post-burnin trees from the phylogenetic analysis were used in a Bayesian comparative analysis to explore the evolution of dance type, nest structure, comb structure and dance sound within Apis. The ancestral honey bee species was inferred with high support to have nested in the open, and to have more likely than not had a silent vertical waggle dance and a single comb. The common ancestor of the giant and cavity-dwelling bees is strongly inferred to have had a buzzing vertical directional dance. All pairwise combinations of characters showed strong association, but the multiple comparisons problem reduces the ability to infer associations between states between characters. Nevertheless, a buzzing dance is significantly associated with cavity-nesting, several vertical combs, and dancing vertically, a horizontal dance is significantly associated with a nest with a single comb wrapped around the support, and open nesting with a single pendant comb and a silent waggle dance. PMID:17123837

  6. Bees use honest floral signals as indicators of reward when visiting flowers.

    PubMed

    Knauer, A C; Schiestl, F P

    2015-02-01

    Pollinators visit flowers for rewards and should therefore have a preference for floral signals that indicate reward status, so called 'honest signals'. We investigated honest signalling in Brassica rapa L. and its relevance for the attraction of a generalised pollinator, the bumble bee Bombus terrestris (L.). We found a positive association between reward amount (nectar sugar and pollen) and the floral scent compound phenylacetaldehyde. Bumble bees developed a preference for phenylacetaldehyde over other scent compounds after foraging on B. rapa. When foraging on artificial flowers scented with synthetic volatiles, bumble bees developed a preference for those specific compounds that honestly indicated reward status. These results show that the honesty of floral signals can play a key role in their attractiveness to pollinators. In plants, a genetic constraint, resource limitation in reward and signal production, and sanctions against cheaters may contribute to the evolution and maintenance of honest signalling. PMID:25491788

  7. Bumble bees of the western United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees (genus Bombus) are critical pollinators of flowering plants. Thirty species of bumble bees are native to the western United States and this publication is a guide to the natural history and identification of these species. We present phenology graphs, host-plant associations, detailed ...

  8. Sphaerularia bombi (Nematoda: Sphaerulariidae) parasitizing Bombus atratus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in southern South America.

    PubMed

    Plischuk, Santiago; Lange, Carlos E

    2012-08-01

    Bumble bees are some of the most important insect pollinators. However, knowledge on parasites associated to bumble bees in South America is very limited. This study reports the first isolation of a sphaerularid nematode parasitizing queens of the native bumble bee Bombus atratus in Argentina. Measurements and morphological characters of eggs, juveniles, and adults strongly suggest that the species is Sphaerularia bombi, a parasite that affects the reproduction and foraging behavior of the host. The nematode was detected in bumble bees of San Carlos de Bariloche, northwestern Patagonia region, and the surroundings of La Plata, northeastern Pampas region. Prevalence varied between 8% and 20%. PMID:22350676

  9. Comparison and examination of Bombus occidentalis and Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in tomato greenhouses.

    PubMed

    Whittington, Robin; Winston, Mark L

    2004-08-01

    Experiments were conducted in commercial tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Miller (Solanaceae), greenhouses to compare the relative foraging effort of two bumble bee species, Bombus occidentalis Greene and Bombus impatiens Cresson, to examine interspecific competition between B. occidentalis and B. impatiens, and to determine whether bumble bee colonies grew to their full population potential in commercial tomato greenhouses. B. impatiens colonies had more brood and workers and made more foraging trips per hour than B. occidentalis colonies. However, B. impatiens returned to the colony without pollen loads and left their colonies without dropping off their pollen loads more frequently than B. occidentalis greenhouse colonies. Our data also suggest that the presence of B. impatiens had a detrimental effect on B. occidentalis populations. Furthermore, B. occidentalis colonies did not grow to their full population potential in tomato greenhouses, with fewer workers in greenhouse colonies than in colonies placed outside in a natural environment, or in colonies that were physically enclosed and protected from external mortality. Together, this study suggests that B. impatiens is a better pollinator than B. occidentalis. It also shows that unknown factors are limiting the size of B. occidentalis colonies in tomato greenhouses. PMID:15384352

  10. Local bumble bee decline linked to recovery of honey bees, drought effects on floral resources.

    PubMed

    Thomson, Diane M

    2016-10-01

    Time series of abundances are critical for understanding how abiotic factors and species interactions affect population dynamics, but are rarely linked with experiments and also scarce for bee pollinators. This gap is important given concerns about declines in some bee species. I monitored honey bee (Apis mellifera) and bumble bee (Bombus spp.) foragers in coastal California from 1999, when feral A. mellifera populations were low due to Varroa destructor, until 2014. Apis mellifera increased substantially, except between 2006 and 2011, coinciding with declines in managed populations. Increases in A. mellifera strongly correlated with declines in Bombus and reduced diet overlap between them, suggesting resource competition consistent with past experimental results. Lower Bombus numbers also correlated with diminished floral resources. Declines in floral abundances were associated with drought and reduced spring rainfall. These results illustrate how competition with an introduced species may interact with climate to drive local decline of native pollinators. PMID:27539950

  11. Patterns of widespread decline in North American bumble bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Declining abundance and range shifts of bumble bee (Bombus) species have been observed in Europe and Asia. However, the status of North America’s bumble bee species has been largely unstudied. Recent reports based on local or regional observations suggest that parallel declines are taking place in N...

  12. Patterns of widespread decline in North America bumble bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Declining abundance and range shifts of bumble bee (Bombus) species have been observed in Europe and Asia. However, the status of North America’s bumble bee species has been largely unstudied. Recent reports based on local or regional observations suggest that parallel declines are taking place in N...

  13. The tracheal mite Locustacarus buchneri in South American native bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

    PubMed

    Plischuk, Santiago; Pocco, Martina E; Lange, Carlos E

    2013-12-01

    As in other regions of the world, bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are important pollinators in the neotropics. Despite its relevance, knowledge on their health is still limited in the region. While external acari are known to occur in these insects, presence of the internal, tracheal mite Locustacarus buchneri is here reported for first time. After the examination of 2,508 individuals of eight Bombus species from Argentina, two workers of Bombus bellicosus and one of Bombus atratus were found parasitized by L. buchneri in localities within San Luis and Buenos Aires provinces, respectively. The rare occurrence recorded agrees with findings from elsewhere in the world. PMID:23872435

  14. The translation into Spanish of the OIE Manual of diagnostic tests and vaccines for terrestrial animals (mammals, birds and bees): problems, solutions and conclusions.

    PubMed

    Crespo León, F; Gutiérrez Díez, F; Rodríguez Ferri, F; León Vizcaíno, L; Cuello Gijón, F; Gimeno, E J; Zepeda Sein, C; Sánchez Vizcaíno Rodríguez, J M; Cerón Madrigal, J J; Cantos Gómez, P; Schudel, A

    2005-12-01

    In order to carry out the translation into Spanish of the Manual of diagnostic tests and vaccines for terrestrial animals (mammals, birds and bees) ensuring full scientific and linguistic accuracy, its authors relied on coordination between three types of experts: linguistic, translational and veterinary. In this paper the planning, execution and quality control of such work, which was undertaken with the support and guarantee of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), is reported. In the conclusions the authors describe what they view as necessary guidelines for the OIE to apply in the future regarding its linguistic policy. The working methodology reported in connection with the translation of the Terrestrial Manual into Spanish will be useful for the translation of the Terrestrial Manual or other texts into languages other than Spanish, whether or not they are among the official languages of the OIE. PMID:16642778

  15. Geographic profiling applied to testing models of bumble-bee foraging

    PubMed Central

    Raine, Nigel E.; Rossmo, D. Kim; Le Comber, Steven C.

    2008-01-01

    Geographic profiling (GP) was originally developed as a statistical tool to help police forces prioritize lists of suspects in investigations of serial crimes. GP uses the location of related crime sites to make inferences about where the offender is most likely to live, and has been extremely successful in criminology. Here, we show how GP is applicable to experimental studies of animal foraging, using the bumble-bee Bombus terrestris. GP techniques enable us to simplify complex patterns of spatial data down to a small number of parameters (2–3) for rigorous hypothesis testing. Combining computer model simulations and experimental observation of foraging bumble-bees, we demonstrate that GP can be used to discriminate between foraging patterns resulting from (i) different hypothetical foraging algorithms and (ii) different food item (flower) densities. We also demonstrate that combining experimental and simulated data can be used to elucidate animal foraging strategies: specifically that the foraging patterns of real bumble-bees can be reliably discriminated from three out of nine hypothetical foraging algorithms. We suggest that experimental systems, like foraging bees, could be used to test and refine GP model predictions, and that GP offers a useful technique to analyse spatial animal behaviour data in both the laboratory and field. PMID:18664426

  16. Size-related variation in protein abundance in the brain and abdominal tissue of bumble bee workers.

    PubMed

    Wolschin, F; Shpigler, H; Amdam, G V; Bloch, G

    2012-06-01

    Female bumble bee workers of the same species often show a profound body size variation that is linked to a division of labour. Large individuals are more likely to forage whereas small individuals are more likely to perform in-nest activities. A higher sensory sensitivity, stronger circadian rhythms as well as better learning and memory performances appear to better equip large individuals for outdoor activities compared to their smaller siblings. The molecular mechanisms underlying worker functional polymorphism remain unclear. Proteins are major determinants of an individual's morphology and behaviour. We hypothesized that the abundance of proteins such as metabolic enzymes as well as proteins involved in neuronal functions would differ with body size and provide insights into the mechanisms underlying size-dependent physiological specialization in bumble bee workers. We conducted protein quantification measurements based on liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry on tissue samples derived from small and large Bombus impatiens and Bombus terrestris workers. Proteins found to differ significantly in abundance between small and large workers belong to the categories of structure, energy metabolism and stress response. These findings provide the first proteomic insight into mechanisms associated with size-based division of labour in social insects. PMID:22568679

  17. Sex ratios in bumble bees

    PubMed Central

    Bourke, A. F. G.

    1997-01-01

    The median proportion of investment in females among 11 populations of seven bumble bee (Bombus) species was 0.32 (range 0.07 to 0.64). By contrast, two species of workerless social parasites in the related genus Psithyrus had female-biased sex allocation, the reasons for which remain unclear. Male-biased sex allocation in Bombus contradicts the predictions of Trivers and Hare's sex ratio model for the social Hymenoptera, which are that the population sex investment ratio should be 0.5 (1:1) under queen control and 0.75 (3:1 females:males) under worker control (assuming single, once-mated, outbred queens and non-reproductive workers). Male bias in Bombus does not appear to be either an artefact, or purely the result of symbiotic sex ratio distorters. According to modifications of the Trivers–Hare model, the level of worker male-production in Bombus is insufficient to account for observed levels of male bias. There is also no evidence that male bias arises from either local resource competition (related females compete for resources) or local mate enhancement (related males cooperate in securing mates). Bulmer presented models predicting sexual selection for protandry (males are produced before females) in annual social Hymenoptera and, as a consequence (given some parameter values), male-biased sex allocation. Bumble bees fit the assumptions of Bulmer's models and are protandrous. These models therefore represent the best current explanation for the bees' male-biased sex investment ratios. This conclusion suggests that the relative timing of the production of the sexes strongly influences sex allocation in the social Hymenoptera.

  18. Flight performance of bumble bee as a possible pollinator in space agriculture under partial gravity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamashita, Masamichi; Hashimoto, Hirofumi; Mitsuhata, Masahiro; Sasaki, Masami; Space Agriculture Task Force, J.

    Space agriculture is an advanced life support concept for habitation on extraterrestrial bodies based on biological and ecological function. Flowering plant species are core member of space agriculture to produce food and revitalize air and water. Selection of crop plant species is made on the basis of nutritional requirements to maintain healthy life of space crew. Species selected for space agriculture have several mode of reproduction. For some of plant species, insect pollination is effective to increase yield and quality of food. In terrestrial agriculture, bee is widely introduced to pollinate flower. For pollinator insect on Mars, working environment is different from Earth. Magnitude of gravity is 0.38G on Mars surface. In order to confirm feasibility of insect pollination for space agriculture, capability of flying pollinator insect under such exotic condition should be examined. Even bee does not possess evident gravity sensory system, gravity dominates flying performance and behavior. During flight or hovering, lifting force produced by wing beat sustains body weight, which is the product of body mass and gravitational acceleration. Flying behavior of bumble bee, Bombus ignitus, was documented under partial or micro-gravity produced by parabolic flight of jet plane. Flying behavior at absence of gravity differed from that under normal gravity. Ability of bee to fly under partial gravity was examined at the level of Mars, Moon and the less, to determine the threshold level of gravity for bee flying maneuver. Adaptation process of bee flying under different gravity level was evaluated as well by successive documentation of parabolic flight experiment.

  19. The conservation and restoration of wild bees.

    PubMed

    Winfree, Rachael

    2010-05-01

    Bees pollinate most of the world's wild plant species and provide economically valuable pollination services to crops; yet knowledge of bee conservation biology lags far behind other taxa such as vertebrates and plants. There are few long-term data on bee populations, which makes their conservation status difficult to assess. The best-studied groups are the genus Bombus (the bumble bees), and bees in the EU generally; both of these are clearly declining. However, it is not known to what extent these groups represent the approximately 20,000 species of bees globally. As is the case for insects in general, bees are underrepresented in conservation planning and protection efforts. For example, only two bee species are on the global IUCN Red List, and no bee is listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, even though many bee species are known to be in steep decline or possibly extinct. At present, bee restoration occurs mainly in agricultural contexts, funded by government programs such as agri-environment schemes (EU) and the Farm Bill (USA). This is a promising approach given that many bee species can use human-disturbed habitats, and bees provide valuable pollination services to crops. However, agricultural restorations only benefit species that persist in agricultural landscapes, and they are more expensive than preserving natural habitat elsewhere. Furthermore, such restorations benefit bees in only about half of studied cases. More research is greatly needed in many areas of bee conservation, including basic population biology, bee restoration in nonagricultural contexts, and the identification of disturbance-sensitive bee species. PMID:20536823

  20. Monitoring Flower Visitation Networks and Interactions between Pairs of Bumble Bees in a Large Outdoor Flight Cage.

    PubMed

    Lihoreau, Mathieu; Chittka, Lars; Raine, Nigel E

    2016-01-01

    Pollinators, such as bees, often develop multi-location routes (traplines) to exploit subsets of flower patches within larger plant populations. How individuals establish such foraging areas in the presence of other foragers is poorly explored. Here we investigated the foraging patterns of pairs of bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) released sequentially into an 880m2 outdoor flight cage containing 10 feeding stations (artificial flowers). Using motion-sensitive video cameras mounted on flowers, we mapped the flower visitation networks of both foragers, quantified their interactions and compared their foraging success over an entire day. Overall, bees that were released first (residents) travelled 37% faster and collected 77% more nectar, thereby reaching a net energy intake rate 64% higher than bees released second (newcomers). However, this prior-experience advantage decreased as newcomers became familiar with the spatial configuration of the flower array. When both bees visited the same flower simultaneously, the most frequent outcome was for the resident to evict the newcomer. On the rare occasions when newcomers evicted residents, the two bees increased their frequency of return visits to that flower. These competitive interactions led to a significant (if only partial) spatial overlap between the foraging patterns of pairs of bees. While newcomers may initially use social cues (such as olfactory footprints) to exploit flowers used by residents, either because such cues indicate higher rewards and/or safety from predation, residents may attempt to preserve their monopoly over familiar resources through exploitation and interference. We discuss how these interactions may favour spatial partitioning, thereby maximising the foraging efficiency of individuals and colonies. PMID:26982030

  1. Monitoring Flower Visitation Networks and Interactions between Pairs of Bumble Bees in a Large Outdoor Flight Cage

    PubMed Central

    Lihoreau, Mathieu; Chittka, Lars; Raine, Nigel E.

    2016-01-01

    Pollinators, such as bees, often develop multi-location routes (traplines) to exploit subsets of flower patches within larger plant populations. How individuals establish such foraging areas in the presence of other foragers is poorly explored. Here we investigated the foraging patterns of pairs of bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) released sequentially into an 880m2 outdoor flight cage containing 10 feeding stations (artificial flowers). Using motion-sensitive video cameras mounted on flowers, we mapped the flower visitation networks of both foragers, quantified their interactions and compared their foraging success over an entire day. Overall, bees that were released first (residents) travelled 37% faster and collected 77% more nectar, thereby reaching a net energy intake rate 64% higher than bees released second (newcomers). However, this prior-experience advantage decreased as newcomers became familiar with the spatial configuration of the flower array. When both bees visited the same flower simultaneously, the most frequent outcome was for the resident to evict the newcomer. On the rare occasions when newcomers evicted residents, the two bees increased their frequency of return visits to that flower. These competitive interactions led to a significant (if only partial) spatial overlap between the foraging patterns of pairs of bees. While newcomers may initially use social cues (such as olfactory footprints) to exploit flowers used by residents, either because such cues indicate higher rewards and/or safety from predation, residents may attempt to preserve their monopoly over familiar resources through exploitation and interference. We discuss how these interactions may favour spatial partitioning, thereby maximising the foraging efficiency of individuals and colonies. PMID:26982030

  2. Conservation and modification of genetic and physiological toolkits underpinning diapause in bumble bee queens.

    PubMed

    Amsalem, Etya; Galbraith, David A; Cnaani, Jonathan; Teal, Peter E A; Grozinger, Christina M

    2015-11-01

    Diapause is the key adaptation allowing insects to survive unfavourable conditions and inhabit an array of environments. Physiological changes during diapause are largely conserved across species and are hypothesized to be regulated by a conserved suite of genes (a 'toolkit'). Furthermore, it is hypothesized that in social insects, this toolkit was co-opted to mediate caste differentiation between long-lived, reproductive, diapause-capable queens and short-lived, sterile workers. Using Bombus terrestris queens, we examined the physiological and transcriptomic changes associated with diapause and CO2 treatment, which causes queens to bypass diapause. We performed comparative analyses with genes previously identified to be associated with diapause in the Dipteran Sarcophaga crassipalpis and with caste differentiation in bumble bees. As in Diptera, diapause in bumble bees is associated with physiological and transcriptional changes related to nutrient storage, stress resistance and core metabolic pathways. There is a significant overlap, both at the level of transcript and gene ontology, between the genetic mechanisms mediating diapause in B. terrestris and S. crassipalpis, reaffirming the existence of a conserved insect diapause genetic toolkit. However, a substantial proportion (10%) of the differentially regulated transcripts in diapausing queens have no clear orthologs in other species, and key players regulating diapause in Diptera (juvenile hormone and vitellogenin) appear to have distinct functions in bumble bees. We also found a substantial overlap between genes related to caste determination and diapause in bumble bees. Thus, our studies demonstrate an intriguing interplay between pathways underpinning adaptation to environmental extremes and the evolution of sociality in insects. PMID:26453894

  3. Interspecific geographic distribution and variation of two bumble bee pathogens, Nosema bombi and Crithidia bombi, in United States populations

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Several bumble bee (Bombus) species in North America have undergone range reductions and rapid declines in relative abundance. Pathogens have been suggested as causal factors, however, baseline data on pathogen distributions in a large number of bumble bee species have not been available to rigorous...

  4. The plight of the bees

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Spivak, Marla; Mader, Eric; Vaughan, Mace; Euliss, Ned H.

    2011-01-01

    Some environmental issues polarize people, producing weary political stalemates of indecision and inaction. Others, however, grab hold of our most primeval instincts, causing us to reach deeply into our memories of childhood, and our first direct experiences with nature: the bumble bee nest we poked at with a stick; the man at the county fair with the bee beard. Those memories expand backward in time to our barefoot ancestors who climbed trees and robbed honey. They help define the human experience and provide context to our own place in the world.And so the plight of the bees strikes a common chord. For a brief moment simple matters of politics, economics, and nationality seem irrelevant. Colony collapse disorder, the name for the syndrome causing honey bees (Apis mellifera) to suddenly and mysteriously disappear from their hives - thousands of individual worker bees literally flying off to die - captured public consciousness when it was first named in 2007 (1). Since then, the story of vanishing honey bees has become ubiquitous in popular consciousness - driving everything from ice cream marketing campaigns to plots for The Simpsons. The untold story is that these hive losses are simply a capstone to more than a half-century of more prosaic day-to-day losses that beekeepers already faced from parasites, diseases, poor nutrition, and pesticide poisoning (2). The larger story still is that while honey bees are charismatic and important to agriculture, other important bees are also suffering, and in some cases their fates are far worse (3). These other bees are a subset of the roughly 4000 species of wild bumble bees (Bombus), leafcutter bees (Megachile), and others that are native to North America. While the honey bee was originally imported from Europe by colonists in the early 17th century, it is these native bees that have evolved with our local ecosystems, and, along with honey bees, are valuable crop pollinators. People want to know why bees are dying and how

  5. Bumble bee fauna of Palouse Prairie: survey of native bee pollinators in a fragmented ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Hatten, T D; Looney, C; Strange, J P; Bosque-Pérez, N A

    2013-01-01

    Bumble bees, Bombus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Apidae:), are dominant pollinators in the northern hemisphere, providing important pollination services for commercial crops and innumerable wild plants. Nationwide declines in several bumble bee species and habitat losses in multiple ecosystems have raised concerns about conservation of this important group. In many regions, such as the Palouse Prairie, relatively little is known about bumble bee communities, despite their critical ecosystem functions. Pitfall trap surveys for ground beetles in Palouse prairie remnants conducted in 2002-2003 contained considerable by-catch of bumble bees. The effects of landscape context, remnant features, year, and season on bumble bee community composition were examined. Additionally, bees captured in 2002-2003 were compared with historic records for the region to assess changes in the presence of individual species. Ten species of bumble bee were captured, representing the majority of the species historically known from the region. Few detectable differences in bumble bee abundances were found among remnants. Community composition differed appreciably, however, based on season, landscape context, and elevation, resulting in different bee assemblages between western, low-lying remnants and eastern, higherelevation remnants. The results suggest that conservation of the still species-rich bumble bee fauna should take into account variability among prairie remnants, and further work is required to adequately explain bumble bee habitat associations on the Palouse. PMID:23902138

  6. Bumble Bee Fauna of Palouse Prairie: Survey of Native Bee Pollinators in a Fragmented Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Hatten, T. D.; Looney, C.; Strange, J. P.; Bosque-Pérez, N. A.

    2013-01-01

    Bumble bees, Bombus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Apidae:), are dominant pollinators in the northern hemisphere, providing important pollination services for commercial crops and innumerable wild plants. Nationwide declines in several bumble bee species and habitat losses in multiple ecosystems have raised concerns about conservation of this important group. In many regions, such as the Palouse Prairie, relatively little is known about bumble bee communities, despite their critical ecosystem functions. Pitfall trap surveys for ground beetles in Palouse prairie remnants conducted in 2002–2003 contained considerable by-catch of bumble bees. The effects of landscape context, remnant features, year, and season on bumble bee community composition were examined. Additionally, bees captured in 2002–2003 were compared with historic records for the region to assess changes in the presence of individual species. Ten species of bumble bee were captured, representing the majority of the species historically known from the region. Few detectable differences in bumble bee abundances were found among remnants. Community composition differed appreciably, however, based on season, landscape context, and elevation, resulting in different bee assemblages between western, low-lying remnants and eastern, higherelevation remnants. The results suggest that conservation of the still species-rich bumble bee fauna should take into account variability among prairie remnants, and further work is required to adequately explain bumble bee habitat associations on the Palouse. PMID:23902138

  7. Effects of habitat composition and landscape structure on worker foraging distances of five bumble bee species.

    PubMed

    Redhead, John W; Dreier, Stephanie; Bourke, Andrew F G; Heard, Matthew S; Jordan, William C; Sumner, Seirian; Wang, Jinliang; Carvell, Claire

    2016-04-01

    Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are important pollinators of both crops and wildflowers. Their contribution to this essential ecosystem service has been threatened over recent decades by changes in land use, which have led to declines in their populations. In order to design effective conservation measures, it is important to understand the effects of variation in landscape composition and structure on the foraging activities of worker bumble bees. This is because the viability of individual colonies is likely to be affected by the trade-off between the energetic costs of foraging over greater distances and the potential gains from access to additional resources. We used field surveys, molecular genetics, and fine resolution remote sensing to estimate the locations of wild bumble bee nests and to infer foraging distances across a 20-km² agricultural landscape in southern England, UK. We investigated five species, including the rare B. ruderatus and ecologically similar but widespread B. hortorum. We compared worker foraging distances between species and examined how variation in landscape composition and structure affected foraging distances at the colony level. Mean worker foraging distances differed significantly between species. Bombus terrestris, B. lapidarius, and B. ruderatus exhibited significantly greater mean foraging distances (551, 536, and 501 m, respectively) than B. hortorum and B. pascuorum (336 and 272 m, respectively). There was wide variation in worker foraging distances between colonies of the same species, which was in turn strongly influenced by the amount and spatial configuration of available foraging habitats. Shorter foraging distances were found for colonies where the local landscape had high coverage and low fragmentation of semi-natural vegetation, including managed agri-environmental field margins. The strength of relationships between different landscape variables and foraging distance varied between species, for example the strongest

  8. Bee Pollen

    MedlinePlus

    ... Don’t confuse bee pollen with bee venom, honey, or royal jelly. People take bee pollen for ... Pollen, Extrait de Pollen d’Abeille, Honeybee Pollen, Honey Bee Pollen, Maize Pollen, Pine Pollen, Polen de ...

  9. Exploring the role of juvenile hormone and vitellogenin in reproduction and social behavior in bumble bees

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background The genetic and physiological pathways regulating behavior in solitary species are hypothesized to have been co-opted to regulate social behavior in social species. One classic example is the interaction between vitellogenin (an egg-yolk and storage protein) and juvenile hormone, which are positively correlated in most insect species but have modified interactions in highly eusocial insects. In some of these species (including some termites, ants, and the honey bee), juvenile hormone and vitellogenin levels are negatively correlated and juvenile hormone has shifted its role from a gonadotropin to a regulator of maturation and division of labor in the primarily sterile workers. The function of vitellogenin also seems to have broadened to encompass similar roles. Thus, the functions and molecular interactions of juvenile hormone and vitellogenin are hypothesized to have undergone changes during the evolution of eusociality, but the mechanisms underlying these changes are unknown. Bumble bees offer an excellent model system for testing how the relationship between juvenile hormone and vitellogenin evolved from solitary to social species. Bumble bee colonies are primitively eusocial and comprised of a single reproductive queen and facultatively sterile workers. In Bombus terrestris, juvenile hormone retains its ancestral role as a gonadotropin and is also hypothesized to regulate aggressive behavior. However, the function of vitellogenin and its interactions with juvenile hormone have not yet been characterized. Results By characterizing vitellogenin RNA expression levels (vg) in B. terrestris we show that vg is not associated with task and only partially associated with worker age, queen presence, and caste (queen vs worker). The correlations of vg with ovarian activation were not consistent across experiments, but both vg and ovarian activation were significantly associated with levels of aggression experienced by workers. Treatment with juvenile hormone

  10. Effect of Number of Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Visits on Eggplant Yield.

    PubMed

    Lowenstein, David M; Minor, Emily S

    2015-06-01

    Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) is a crop with perfect flowers capable of self-pollination. Insect pollination enhances fruit set, but little is known about how pollination success varies by number of visits from bumble bees. To quantify the efficiency of bumble bees at pollinating eggplants, we allowed 1, 2, 6, and 12 bumble bees (Bombus impatiens Cresson) to visit eggplant flowers and compared percentage of flowers that set fruit, fruit weight, and seed set after 3 wk. We compared yield from these visit numbers to eggplant flowers that were left open for unlimited visitation. Eggplant flowers set the most fruit from open-pollination and 12 visits. Larger, seedier fruits were formed in open-pollinated flowers. However, fruit characteristics in the 12 visit treatment were similar to lower visitation frequencies. We confirm B. impatiens as an efficient eggplant pollinator and document the greatest benefit from 12 bumble bee visits and open-pollinated flowers. To maintain effective eggplant pollination, local conditions must be conducive for bumble bee colony establishment and repeated pollen foraging trips. PMID:26470277

  11. Fine-scale spatial genetic structure of common and declining bumble bees across an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Dreier, Stephanie; Redhead, John W; Warren, Ian A; Bourke, Andrew F G; Heard, Matthew S; Jordan, William C; Sumner, Seirian; Wang, Jinliang; Carvell, Claire

    2014-07-01

    Land-use changes have threatened populations of many insect pollinators, including bumble bees. Patterns of dispersal and gene flow are key determinants of species' ability to respond to land-use change, but have been little investigated at a fine scale (<10 km) in bumble bees. Using microsatellite markers, we determined the fine-scale spatial genetic structure of populations of four common Bombus species (B. terrestris, B. lapidarius, B. pascuorum and B. hortorum) and one declining species (B. ruderatus) in an agricultural landscape in Southern England, UK. The study landscape contained sown flower patches representing agri-environment options for pollinators. We found that, as expected, the B. ruderatus population was characterized by relatively low heterozygosity, number of alleles and colony density. Across all species, inbreeding was absent or present but weak (FIS  = 0.01-0.02). Using queen genotypes reconstructed from worker sibships and colony locations estimated from the positions of workers within these sibships, we found that significant isolation by distance was absent in B. lapidarius, B. hortorum and B. ruderatus. In B. terrestris and B. pascuorum, it was present but weak; for example, in these two species, expected relatedness of queens founding colonies 1 m apart was 0.02. These results show that bumble bee populations exhibit low levels of spatial genetic structure at fine spatial scales, most likely because of ongoing gene flow via widespread queen dispersal. In addition, the results demonstrate the potential for agri-environment scheme conservation measures to facilitate fine-scale gene flow by creating a more even distribution of suitable habitats across landscapes. PMID:24980963

  12. Fine-scale spatial genetic structure of common and declining bumble bees across an agricultural landscape

    PubMed Central

    Dreier, Stephanie; Redhead, John W; Warren, Ian A; Bourke, Andrew F G; Heard, Matthew S; Jordan, William C; Sumner, Seirian; Wang, Jinliang; Carvell, Claire

    2014-01-01

    Land-use changes have threatened populations of many insect pollinators, including bumble bees. Patterns of dispersal and gene flow are key determinants of species' ability to respond to land-use change, but have been little investigated at a fine scale (<10 km) in bumble bees. Using microsatellite markers, we determined the fine-scale spatial genetic structure of populations of four common Bombus species (B. terrestris, B. lapidarius, B. pascuorum and B. hortorum) and one declining species (B. ruderatus) in an agricultural landscape in Southern England, UK. The study landscape contained sown flower patches representing agri-environment options for pollinators. We found that, as expected, the B. ruderatus population was characterized by relatively low heterozygosity, number of alleles and colony density. Across all species, inbreeding was absent or present but weak (FIS = 0.01–0.02). Using queen genotypes reconstructed from worker sibships and colony locations estimated from the positions of workers within these sibships, we found that significant isolation by distance was absent in B. lapidarius, B. hortorum and B. ruderatus. In B. terrestris and B. pascuorum, it was present but weak; for example, in these two species, expected relatedness of queens founding colonies 1 m apart was 0.02. These results show that bumble bee populations exhibit low levels of spatial genetic structure at fine spatial scales, most likely because of ongoing gene flow via widespread queen dispersal. In addition, the results demonstrate the potential for agri-environment scheme conservation measures to facilitate fine-scale gene flow by creating a more even distribution of suitable habitats across landscapes. PMID:24980963

  13. The corbiculate bees arose from New World oil-collecting bees: implications for the origin of pollen baskets.

    PubMed

    Martins, Aline C; Melo, Gabriel A R; Renner, Susanne S

    2014-11-01

    The economically most important group of bees is the "corbiculates", or pollen basket bees, some 890 species of honeybees (Apis), bumblebees (Bombus), stingless bees (Meliponini), and orchid bees (Euglossini). Molecular studies have indicated that the corbiculates are closest to the New World genera Centris, with 230 species, and Epicharis, with 35, albeit without resolving the precise relationships. Instead of concave baskets, these bees have hairy hind legs on which they transport pollen mixed with floral oil, collected with setae on the anterior and middle legs. We sampled two-thirds of all Epicharis, a third of all Centris, and representatives of the four lineages of corbiculates for four nuclear gene regions, obtaining a well-supported phylogeny that has the corbiculate bees nested inside the Centris/Epicharis clade. Fossil-calibrated molecular clocks, combined with a biogeographic reconstruction incorporating insights from the fossil record, indicate that the corbiculate clade arose in the New World and diverged from Centris 84 (72-95)mya. The ancestral state preceding corbiculae thus was a hairy hind leg, perhaps adapted for oil transport as in Epicharis and Centris bees. Its replacement by glabrous, concave baskets represents a key innovation, allowing efficient transport of plant resins and large pollen/nectar loads and freeing the corbiculate clade from dependence on oil-offering flowers. The transformation could have involved a novel function of Ubx, the gene known to change hairy into smooth pollen baskets in Apis and Bombus. PMID:25034728

  14. Bee poison

    MedlinePlus

    ... is caused by a sting from a bee, wasp , or yellow jacket. This article is for information ... Bee, wasp, and yellow jacket stings contain a substance called venom. Africanized bee colonies are very sensitive to being ...

  15. Annual dynamics of wild bee densities: attractiveness and productivity effects of oilseed rape.

    PubMed

    Riedinger, Verena; Mitesser, Oliver; Hovestadt, Thomas; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Holzschuh, Andrea

    2015-05-01

    Mass-flowering crops may affect long-term population dynamics, but effects on pollinators have never been studied across several years. We monitored wild bees in oilseed rape fields in 16 landscapes in Germany in two consecutive years. Effects on bee densities of landscape oilseed rape cover in the years of monitoring and in the previous years were evaluated with landscape data from three consecutive years. We fit empirical data to a mechanistic model to provide estimates for oilseed rape attractiveness and its effect on bee productivity in comparison to the rest of the landscape, and we evaluated consequences for pollinator densities in consecutive years. Our results show that high oilseed rape cover in the previous year enhances current densities of wild bees (except for bumble bees). Moreover, we show a strong attractiveness of and dilution on (i.e., decreasing bee densities with increasing landscape oilseed rape cover) oilseed rape for bees during flowering in the current year, modifying the effect of the previous year's oilseed rape cover in the case of wild bees (excluding Bombus). As long as other factors such as nesting sites or natural enemies do not limit bee reproduction, our findings suggest long-term positive effects of mass-flowering crops on bee populations, at least for non-Bombus generalists, which possibly help to maintain crop pollination services even when crop area increases. Similar effects are conceivable for other organisms providing ecosystem services in annual crops and should be considered in future studies. PMID:26236848

  16. Comparative efficiency of Nannotrigona perilampoides, Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apoidea), and mechanical vibration on fruit production of enclosed habanero pepper.

    PubMed

    Palma, Gerardo; Quezada-Euán, José Javier G; Meléndez-Ramirez, Virginia; Irigoyen, Javier; Valdovinos-Nuñez, Gustavo R; Rejón, Manuel

    2008-02-01

    The native bee Nannotrigona perilampoides Cresson (Apidae: Meliponini) has been evaluated with promising results in greenhouse pollination of Solanaceae in Mexico. However, no comparison has been done with imported bumble bees (Apidae: Bombini), which are the most common bees used for greenhouse pollination. We compared the foraging activity and fruit production of habanero pepper. Capsicum chinense Jacquin, by using N. perilampoides and Bombus impatiens Cresson in pollination cages. Both bee species collected pollen on a similar number of flowers per unit time, but N. perilampoides visited significantly more flowers per trip, lasted longer on each flower, and spent more time per foraging trip. Ambient temperature and light intensity significantly affected the foraging activity of N. perilampoides. Light intensity was the only environmental variable that affected B. impatiens. Except for the fruit set, there were not significant differences in the quality of fruit produced by both bee species; however, N. perilampoides and B. impatiens performed better than mechanical vibration for all the variables measured. The abortion of fruit caused the low fruit set produced by B. impatiens, and we speculate it might be due to an excessive visitation rate. Pollination efficiency per visit (Spear's pollination efficiency index) was similar for both bee species in spite of the significantly lower amount of pollen removed by N. perilampoides. We suggested that the highest number of flowers visited per foraging trip coupled with adequate amounts of pollen transported, and transferred between flowers, could explain the performance of N. perilampoides as a good pollinator of habanero pepper. Our experiments confirm that N. perilampoides could be used as an alternative pollinator to Bombus in hot pepper under tropical climates. PMID:18330127

  17. Comparative flight morphology in queens of invasive and native Patagonian bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Bombus).

    PubMed

    Polidori, Carlo; Nieves-Aldrey, José Luis

    2015-02-01

    Since its introduction in Chile, the European Bombus terrestris L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) has progressively reduced the abundance of the native Patagonian bumblebee, Bombus dahlbomii Guérin. Because an important cause of successful invasion of a species may depend on a potentially advantageous phenotype, we studied morphologies related to flight performance (flight muscle ratio (FMR), wing loading (WL), excess power index (EPI, which integrates FMR and WL) and wing aspect ratio (AR)) in the queens of the two species. Previous empirical studies showed that greater FMR, AR and EPI, and lower WL increase flight performance. In the Patagonian Chilean fjord where the study was carried out, B. dahlbomii was 40% heavier than B. terrestris, a difference theoretically allowing the queens of the native species to take off with heavier loads, despite the fact that the two species have virtually identical FMRs. However, FMR negatively depended on body mass at the intra-specific level. The total wing area was 35% greater in B. dahlbomii, but the difference in forewing length was only of 16%. Once taken into account the effect of body size, WL, was significantly lower in B. terrestris. AR increased with body mass and did not differ between species. EPI was weakly but significantly higher in B. terrestris. Experiments formally linking such parameters with flight performance may help to explain the observed quick and wide spread of this alien species in Patagonia in the last few years. PMID:25499798

  18. Molecular cloning and characterization of a venom phospholipase A2 from the bumblebee Bombus ignitus.

    PubMed

    Xin, Yu; Choo, Young Moo; Hu, Zhigang; Lee, Kwang Sik; Yoon, Hyung Joo; Cui, Zheng; Sohn, Hung Dae; Jin, Byung Rae

    2009-10-01

    Phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) is one of the main components of bee venom. Here, we identify a venom PLA(2) from the bumblebee, Bombus ignitus. Bumblebee venom PLA(2) (Bi-PLA(2)) cDNA, which was identified by searching B. ignitus venom gland expressed sequence tags, encodes a 180 amino acid protein. Comparison of the genomic sequence with the cDNA sequence revealed the presence of four exons and three introns in the Bi-PLA(2) gene. Bi-PLA(2) is an 18-kDa glycoprotein. It is expressed in the venom gland, cleaved between the residues Arg44 and Ile45, and then stored in the venom sac. Comparative analysis revealed that the mature Bi-PLA(2) (136 amino acids) possesses features consistent with other bee PLA(2)s, including ten conserved cysteine residues, as well as a highly conserved Ca(2+)-binding site and active site. Phylogenetic analysis of bee PLA(2)s separated the bumblebee and honeybee PLA(2) proteins into two groups. The mature Bi-PLA(2) purified from the venom of B. ignitus worker bees hydrolyzed DBPC, a known substrate of PLA(2). Immunofluorescence staining of Bi-PLA(2)-treated insect Sf9 cells revealed that Bi-PLA(2) binds at the cell membrane and induces apoptotic cell death. PMID:19539776

  19. A conserved class of queen pheromones? Re-evaluating the evidence in bumblebees (Bombus impatiens).

    PubMed

    Amsalem, Etya; Orlova, Margarita; Grozinger, Christina M

    2015-10-22

    The regulation of reproductive division of labour is a key component in the evolution of social insects. Chemical signals are important mechanisms to regulate worker reproduction, either as queen-produced pheromones that coercively inhibit worker reproduction or as queen signals that honestly advertise her fecundity. A recent study suggested that a conserved class of hydrocarbons serve as queen pheromones across three independent origins of eusociality. In bumblebees (Bombus terrestris), pentacosane (C25) was suggested to serve as a queen pheromone. Here, we repeat these studies using a different species of bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) with a more controlled experimental design. Instead of dequeened colonies, we used same-aged, three-worker queenless groups comprising either experienced or naive workers (with/without adult exposure to queen pheromone). We quantified three hydrocarbons (C23, C25 and C27) on the cuticular surfaces of females and tested their effects on the two worker types. Our results indicate differences in responses of naive and experienced workers, genetic effects on worker reproduction, and general effects of hydrocarbons and duration of egg laying on ovary resorption rates. However, we found no evidence to support the theory that a conserved class of hydrocarbons serve as queen pheromones or queen signals in Bombus impatiens. PMID:26490791

  20. Microbial Communities of Three Sympatric Australian Stingless Bee Species

    PubMed Central

    Leonhardt, Sara D.; Kaltenpoth, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Bacterial symbionts of insects have received increasing attention due to their prominent role in nutrient acquisition and defense. In social bees, symbiotic bacteria can maintain colony homeostasis and fitness, and the loss or alteration of the bacterial community may be associated with the ongoing bee decline observed worldwide. However, analyses of microbiota associated with bees have been largely confined to the social honeybees (Apis mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus spec.), revealing – among other taxa – host-specific lactic acid bacteria (LAB, genus Lactobacillus) that are not found in solitary bees. Here, we characterized the microbiota of three Australian stingless bee species (Apidae: Meliponini) of two phylogenetically distant genera (Tetragonula and Austroplebeia). Besides common plant bacteria, we find LAB in all three species, showing that LAB are shared by honeybees, bumblebees and stingless bees across geographical regions. However, while LAB of the honeybee-associated Firm4–5 clusters were present in Tetragonula, they were lacking in Austroplebeia. Instead, we found a novel clade of likely host-specific LAB in all three Australian stingless bee species which forms a sister clade to a large cluster of Halictidae-associated lactobacilli. Our findings indicate both a phylogenetic and geographical signal of host-specific LAB in stingless bees and highlight stingless bees as an interesting group to investigate the evolutionary history of the bee-LAB association. PMID:25148082

  1. Microbial communities of three sympatric Australian stingless bee species.

    PubMed

    Leonhardt, Sara D; Kaltenpoth, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Bacterial symbionts of insects have received increasing attention due to their prominent role in nutrient acquisition and defense. In social bees, symbiotic bacteria can maintain colony homeostasis and fitness, and the loss or alteration of the bacterial community may be associated with the ongoing bee decline observed worldwide. However, analyses of microbiota associated with bees have been largely confined to the social honeybees (Apis mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus spec.), revealing--among other taxa--host-specific lactic acid bacteria (LAB, genus Lactobacillus) that are not found in solitary bees. Here, we characterized the microbiota of three Australian stingless bee species (Apidae: Meliponini) of two phylogenetically distant genera (Tetragonula and Austroplebeia). Besides common plant bacteria, we find LAB in all three species, showing that LAB are shared by honeybees, bumblebees and stingless bees across geographical regions. However, while LAB of the honeybee-associated Firm4-5 clusters were present in Tetragonula, they were lacking in Austroplebeia. Instead, we found a novel clade of likely host-specific LAB in all three Australian stingless bee species which forms a sister clade to a large cluster of Halictidae-associated lactobacilli. Our findings indicate both a phylogenetic and geographical signal of host-specific LAB in stingless bees and highlight stingless bees as an interesting group to investigate the evolutionary history of the bee-LAB association. PMID:25148082

  2. Host manipulation of bumble bee queens by Sphaerularia nematodes indirectly affects foraging of non-host workers.

    PubMed

    Kadoya, Eri Z; Ishii, Hiroshi S

    2015-05-01

    Sphaerularia bombi Dufour is a major parasite of bumble bee queens that manipulates its host's behavior: parasitized queens do not breed and found nests but continue to fly into the early summer months. We examined the indirect consequences of this host manipulation on non-host workers in central Hokkaido Island, Japan. In this area, parasitism of Bombus terrestris by S. bombi is common but does not affect every queen; therefore, as summer begins, B. terrestris queens continue to dominate some flower patches and disappear from others. At sites dominated by parasitized queens, we found that the nectar standing crop of red clover was smaller, B. terrestris workers carried out fewer legitimate visits to red clover and more nectar robberies, and the workers were smaller than at other sites. Removing queens from a site increased the nectar standing crop of red clover, the frequency of worker visits to red clover, and the size of the workers. These results suggest that host manipulation by S. bombi increased competition for flower resources among host queens and non-host workers and altered the interaction between plants and non-host flower visitors. PMID:26236849

  3. Impact of currently used or potentially useful insecticides for canola agroecosystems on Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae), Megachile rotundata (Hymentoptera: Megachilidae), and Osmia lignaria (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

    PubMed

    Scott-Dupree, C D; Conroy, L; Harris, C R

    2009-02-01

    Pest management practices may be contributing to a decline in wild bee populations in or near canola (Brassica napus L.) agroecosystems. The objective of this study was to investigate the direct contact toxicity of five technical grade insecticides--imidacloprid, clothianidin, deltamethrin, spinosad, and novaluron--currently used, or with potential for use in canola integrated pest management on bees that may forage in canola: common eastern bumble bees [Bombus impatiens (Cresson); hereafter bumble bees], alfalfa leafcutting bees [Megachile rotundata (F.)], and Osmia lignaria Cresson. Clothianidin and to a lesser extent imidacloprid were highly toxic to all three species, deltamethrin and spinosad were intermediate in toxicity, and novaluron was nontoxic. Bumble bees were generally more tolerant to the direct contact applications > O. lignaria > leafcutting bees. However, differences in relative toxicities between the three species were not consistent, e.g., whereas clothianidin was only 4.9 and 1.3x more toxic, deltamethrin was 53 and 68x more toxic to leafcutting bees than to bumble bees and O. lignaria, respectively. Laboratory assessment of direct contact toxicity, although useful, is only one measure of potential impact, and mortality under field conditions may differ greatly depending on management practices. Research conducted using only honey bees as the indicator species may not adequately reflect the risk posed by insecticides to wild bees because of their unique biology and differential susceptibility. Research programs focused on determining nontarget impact on pollinators should be expanded to include not only the honey bee but also wild bee species representative of the agricultural system under investigation. PMID:19253634

  4. The neonicotinoid pesticide, imidacloprid, affects Bombus impatiens (bumblebee) sonication behavior when consumed at doses below the LD50.

    PubMed

    Switzer, Callin M; Combes, Stacey A

    2016-08-01

    We investigated changes in sonication (or buzz-pollination) behavior of Bombus impatiens bumblebees, after consumption of the neonicotinoid pesticide, imidacloprid. We measured sonication frequency, sonication length, and flight (wing beat) frequency of marked bees collecting pollen from Solanum lycopsersicum (tomato), and then randomly assigned bees to consume 0, 0.0515, 0.515, or 5.15 ng of imidacloprid. We recorded the number of bees in each treatment group that resumed sonication behavior after consuming imidacloprid, and re-measured sonication and flight behavior for these bees. We did not find evidence that consuming 0.0515 ng imidacloprid affected the sonication length, sonication frequency, or flight frequency for bees that sonicated after consuming imidacloprid; we were unable to test changes in these variables for bees that consumed 0.515 or 5.15 ng because we did not observe enough of these bees sonicating after treatment. We performed Cox proportional hazard regression to determine whether consuming imidacloprid affected the probability of engaging in further sonication behavior on S. lycopersicum and found that bumblebees who consumed 0.515 or 5.15 ng of imidacloprid were significantly less likely to sonicate after treatment than bees who consumed no imidacloprid. At the end of the experiment, we classified bees as dead or alive; our data suggest a trend of increasing mortality with higher doses of imidacloprid. Our results show that even modest doses of imidacloprid can significantly affect the likelihood of bumblebees engaging in sonication, a behavior critical for the pollination of a variety of crops and other plants. PMID:27189613

  5. Responses of social and solitary bees to pulsed floral resources.

    PubMed

    Crone, Elizabeth E

    2013-10-01

    Pulsed food resources lead to mismatches between distribution of consumers and resources in space and time. Many studies have investigated how pollinators and floral resources covary in space, but few have looked at their covariance among years. I studied responses of two bee taxa, Bombus (a social genus) and Anthophora (a solitary genus), to variation in flowering by Astragalus scaphoides, a perennial herb that flowers in alternate years. First, I quantified the rate at which individual plants were visited by bees. Anthophora showed evidence of a demographic response to resource pulses--that is, more individuals were seen in the year after a high-flowering year--whereas Bombus did not. Second, I quantified pollinator behavior by following individual bees and recording the proportion of visits to A. scaphoides within single foraging bouts. The proportion of visits to A. scaphoides by both taxa increased with A. scaphoides's flowering density. Higher specialization in high-flowering years likely makes both taxa better pollinators in high-flowering years. If these taxa differ in effectiveness as pollinators, then these responses translate into variation in pollination services in space and time, specifically, more activity by Bombus in high-flowering years and more by Anthophora in years following high-flowering years. They also emphasize that pollinator activity depends in part on past-as well as current-floral resources. PMID:24021399

  6. Identification of Aspergillus nomius in Bees Visiting Brazil Nut Flowers

    PubMed Central

    Massi, Fernanda Pelisson; Penha, Rafael Elias Silva; Cavalcante, Marcelo Casimiro; Viaro, Helena Paula; da Silva, Josué José; de Souza Ferranti, Larissa; Fungaro, Maria Helena Pelegrinelli

    2015-01-01

    We designed a primer pair (BtubNomF/BtubNomR) specifically for amplifying Aspergillus nomius DNA. In vitro assays confirmed BtubNomF/BtubNomR specificity, corroborating its usefulness in detecting and identifying A. nomius. We then investigated the occurrence of A. nomius in floral visitors of Bertholletia excelsa trees by means of PCR, and A. nomius was detected in the following bees: Xylocopa frontalis, Bombus transversalis, Centris denudans, C. ferruginea, and Epicharis flava. The presence of A. nomius in bees visiting Brazil nuts opens up new avenues for obtaining novel insights into the process whereby Brazil nuts are contaminated by aflatoxin-producing fungi. PMID:26063353

  7. Identification of Aspergillus nomius in Bees Visiting Brazil Nut Flowers.

    PubMed

    Massi, Fernanda Pelisson; Penha, Rafael Elias Silva; Cavalcante, Marcelo Casimiro; Viaro, Helena Paula; da Silva, Josué José; de Souza Ferranti, Larissa; Fungaro, Maria Helena Pelegrinelli

    2015-01-01

    We designed a primer pair (BtubNomF/BtubNomR) specifically for amplifying Aspergillus nomius DNA. In vitro assays confirmed BtubNomF/BtubNomR specificity, corroborating its usefulness in detecting and identifying A. nomius. We then investigated the occurrence of A. nomius in floral visitors of Bertholletia excelsa trees by means of PCR, and A. nomius was detected in the following bees: Xylocopa frontalis, Bombus transversalis, Centris denudans, C. ferruginea, and Epicharis flava. The presence of A. nomius in bees visiting Brazil nuts opens up new avenues for obtaining novel insights into the process whereby Brazil nuts are contaminated by aflatoxin-producing fungi. PMID:26063353

  8. Bee poison

    MedlinePlus

    ... is caused by a sting from a bee, wasp , or yellow jacket. This article is for information ... anywhere in the United States. Poisonous Ingredient Bee, wasp, and yellow jacket stings contain a substance called ...

  9. Spatial encoding by bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) of a reward within an artificial flower array.

    PubMed

    Church, Dana L; Plowright, Catherine M S

    2006-04-01

    We presented bumblebees a spatial memory task similar to that used with other species (e.g., cats, dogs, and pigeons). In some conditions we allowed for presence of scent marks in addition to placing local and global spatial cues in conflict. Bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) were presented an array of artificial flowers within a flight cage, one flower offering reward (S+), while the others were empty (S-). Bees were tested with empty flowers. In Experiment 1, flowers were either moved at the time of testing or not. Bees returned to the flower in the same absolute position of the S+ (the flower-array-independent (FAI) position), even if it was in the wrong position relative to the S- and even when new flower covers prevented the use of possible scent marks. New flower covers (i.e., without possible scent marks) had the effect of lowering the frequency of probing behavior. In Experiment 2, the colony was moved between training and testing. Again, bees chose the flower in the FAI position of the S+, and not the flower that would be chosen using strictly memory for a flight vector. Together, these experiments show that to locate the S+ bees did not rely on scent marks nor the positions of the S-, though the S- were prominent objects close to the goal. Also, bees selected environmental features to remember the position of the S+ instead of relying upon a purely egocentric point of view. Similarities with honeybees and vertebrates are discussed, as well as possible encoding mechanisms. PMID:16416106

  10. Exposure Effects on the Productivity of Commercial Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Quads During Bloom in Watermelon Fields.

    PubMed

    Marchese, J I; Johnson, G J; Delaney, D A

    2015-08-01

    In light of population declines of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.), research has refocused attention on alternative pollinators and their potential to fulfill pollination services within economically important agricultural crops. Bumble bees are one such alternative, and within the past 20 yr, these pollinators have been reared and sold as commercial pollinators. Investigation into their use has been limited and more research is needed to improve pollinator effectiveness in field settings. Quad pollination units of the commercially reared native bumble bee species, the common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson), were monitored and evaluated for productivity during peak watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunberg) Matsumura & Nakai] bloom in southern Delaware. Differing colony exposures including various shade structure designs and natural shade were compared to assess the quality of the shade in regards to bumble bee activity during watermelon bloom. Quads receiving different nest treatments were evaluated on the basis of foraging activity and colony weight gain. Results indicated that colonies within quads provided with artificial or natural shade had significantly more foraging activity, weighed more, and produced more cells than colonies in quads placed in the field with no shade. Colonies within quads provided with artificial and natural shade peaked later in terms of foraging and weight gain, suggesting that growers could extend harvest to take advantage of later markets and possible movement into fields that were planted later. PMID:26470323

  11. Efficiacy of bumble bee disseminated biological control agents for control of Botrytis Blossom blight of Rabbiteye Blueberry

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Botrytis blossom blight caused by Botrytis cinerea may cause severe crop loss in rabbiteye blueberry, necessitating applications of expensive fungicides. Commercial bumble bees, Bombus impatiens, were tested as vectors of the fungicidal biological control agents (BCAs), Prestop® Gliocladium catenula...

  12. Evidence for Bombus occidentalis (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Populations in the Olympic Peninsula, the Palouse Prairie, and Forests of Northern Idaho.

    PubMed

    Rhoades, Paul R; Koch, Jonathan B; Waits, Lisette P; Strange, James P; Eigenbrode, Sanford D

    2016-01-01

    Since the mid-1990s, Bombus occidentalis (Green) has declined from being one of the most common to one of the rarest bumble bee species in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Although its conservation status is unresolved, a petition to list this species as endangered or threatened was recently submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. To shed light on the conservation situation and inform the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision, we report on the detection and abundance of B. occidentalis following bumble bee collection between 2012 and 2014 across the Pacific Northwest. Collection occurred from the San Juan Islands and Olympic peninsula east to northern Idaho and northeastern Oregon, excluding the arid region in central Washington. B. occidentalis was observed at 23 collection sites out of a total of 234. With the exception of three sites on the Olympic peninsula, all of these were in the southeastern portion of the collection range. PMID:26856817

  13. Evidence for Bombus occidentalis (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Populations in the Olympic Peninsula, the Palouse Prairie, and Forests of Northern Idaho

    PubMed Central

    Rhoades, Paul R.; Koch, Jonathan B.; Waits, Lisette P.; Strange, James P.; Eigenbrode, Sanford D.

    2016-01-01

    Since the mid-1990s, Bombus occidentalis (Green) has declined from being one of the most common to one of the rarest bumble bee species in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Although its conservation status is unresolved, a petition to list this species as endangered or threatened was recently submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. To shed light on the conservation situation and inform the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision, we report on the detection and abundance of B. occidentalis following bumble bee collection between 2012 and 2014 across the Pacific Northwest. Collection occurred from the San Juan Islands and Olympic peninsula east to northern Idaho and northeastern Oregon, excluding the arid region in central Washington. B. occidentalis was observed at 23 collection sites out of a total of 234. With the exception of three sites on the Olympic peninsula, all of these were in the southeastern portion of the collection range. PMID:26856817

  14. Environment or kin: whence do bees obtain acidophilic bacteria?

    PubMed

    McFrederick, Quinn S; Wcislo, William T; Taylor, Douglas R; Ishak, Heather D; Dowd, Scot E; Mueller, Ulrich G

    2012-04-01

    As honey bee populations decline, interest in pathogenic and mutualistic relationships between bees and microorganisms has increased. Honey bees and bumble bees appear to have a simple intestinal bacterial fauna that includes acidophilic bacteria. Here, we explore the hypothesis that sweat bees can acquire acidophilic bacteria from the environment. To quantify bacterial communities associated with two species of North American and one species of Neotropical sweat bees, we conducted 16S rDNA amplicon 454 pyrosequencing of bacteria associated with the bees, their brood cells and their nests. Lactobacillus spp. were the most abundant bacteria in many, but not all, of the samples. To determine whether bee-associated lactobacilli can also be found in the environment, we reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships of the genus Lactobacillus. Previously described groups that associate with Bombus and Apis appeared relatively specific to these genera. Close relatives of several bacteria that have been isolated from flowers, however, were isolated from bees. Additionally, all three sweat bee species associated with lactobacilli related to flower-associated lactobacilli. These data suggest that there may be at least two different means by which bees acquire putative probiotics. Some lactobacilli appear specific to corbiculate apids, possibly because they are largely maternally inherited (vertically transmitted). Other lactobacilli, however, may be regularly acquired from environmental sources such as flowers. Sweat bee-associated lactobacilli were found to be abundant in the pollen and frass inside the nests of halictids, suggesting that they could play a role in suppressing the growth of moulds and other spoilage organisms. PMID:22340254

  15. Conservation genetics, foraging distance and nest density of the scarce Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus).

    PubMed

    Charman, Thomas G; Sears, Jane; Green, Rhys E; Bourke, Andrew F G

    2010-07-01

    The conservation genetics of bees is of particular interest because many bee species are in decline, so jeopardizing the essential ecosystem service of plant pollination that they provide. In addition, as social haplodiploids, inbred bees may be vulnerable to the extra genetic load represented by the production of sterile diploid males. Using microsatellite markers, we investigated the genetic structure of populations of the Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus Morawitz) in the UK, where this species has undergone a precipitous decline. By means of a mixture of analytical methods and simulation, we also extended--and then applied--genetic methods for estimating foraging distance and nest density in wild bees. B. distinguendus populations were characterized by low expected heterozygosity and allelic richness, inbreeding coefficients not significantly different from zero, absence of detected diploid males, absence of substantial demographic bottlenecking, and population substructuring at large (c. 100+ km) but not small (10s of km) spatial scales. The minimum average effective population size at our sampling sites was low (c. 25). In coastal grassland (machair), the estimated modal foraging distance of workers was 391 m, with 95% of foraging activity occurring within 955 m of the nest, and estimated nest density was 19.3 nests km(-2). These findings show that B. distinguendus exhibits some genetic features of scarce, declining or fragmented populations. Moreover, B. distinguendus workers appear to forage over above-average distances and nests remain thinly distributed even in current strongholds. These considerations should inform future conservation actions for this and similar species. PMID:20561194

  16. Bumble bee nest abundance, foraging distance, and host-plant reproduction: implications for management and conservation.

    PubMed

    Geib, Jennifer C; Strange, James P; Galenj, Candace

    2015-04-01

    Recent reports of global declines in pollinator species imply an urgent need to assess the abundance of native pollinators and density-dependent benefits for linked plants. In this study, we investigated (1) pollinator nest distributions and estimated colony abundances, (2) the relationship between abundances of foraging workers and the number of nests they represent, (3) pollinator foraging ranges, and (4) the relationship between pollinator abundance and plant reproduction. We examined these questions in an alpine ecosystem in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, focusing on four alpine bumble bee species (Bombus balteatus, B. flavifrons, B. bifarius, and B. sylvicola), and two host plants that differ in their degrees of pollinator specialization (Trifolium dasyphyllum and T. parryi). Using microsatellites, we found that estimated colony abundances among Bombus species ranged from ~18 to 78 colonies/0.01 km2. The long-tongued species B. balteatus was most common, especially high above treeline, but the subalpine species B. bifarius was unexpectedly abundant for this elevation range. Nests detected among sampled foragers of each species were correlated with the number of foragers caught. Foraging ranges were smaller than expected for all Bombus species, ranging from 25 to 110 m. Fruit set for the specialized plant, Trifolium parryi, was positively related to the abundance of its Bombus pollinator. In contrast, fruit set for the generalized plant, T. dasyphyllum, was related to abundance of all Bombus species. Because forager abundance was related to nest abundance of each Bombus species and was an equally effective predictor of plant fecundity, forager inventories are probably suitable for assessing the health of outcrossing plant populations. However, nest abundance, rather than forager abundance, better reflects demographic and genetic health in populations of eusocial pollinators such as bumble bees. Development of models incorporating the parameters we have measured

  17. Bumble bee colony dynamics: quantifying the importance of land use and floral resources for colony growth and queen production.

    PubMed

    Crone, Elizabeth E; Williams, Neal M

    2016-04-01

    Bumble bee (Bombus) species are ecologically and economically important pollinators, and many species are in decline. In this article, we develop a mechanistic model to analyse growth trajectories of Bombus vosnesenskii colonies in relation to floral resources and land use. Queen production increased with floral resources and was higher in semi-natural areas than on conventional farms. However, the most important parameter for queen production was the colony growth rate per flower, as opposed to the average number of available flowers. This result indicates the importance of understanding mechanisms of colony growth, in order to predict queen production and enhance bumble bee population viability. Our work highlights the importance of interpreting bumble bee conservation efforts in the context of overall population dynamics and provides a framework for doing so. PMID:26913696

  18. Floral nectar guide patterns discourage nectar robbing by bumble bees.

    PubMed

    Leonard, Anne S; Brent, Joshua; Papaj, Daniel R; Dornhaus, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Floral displays are under selection to both attract pollinators and deter antagonists. Here we show that a common floral trait, a nectar guide pattern, alters the behavior of bees that can act opportunistically as both pollinators and as antagonists. Generally, bees access nectar via the floral limb, transporting pollen through contact with the plant's reproductive structures; however bees sometimes extract nectar from a hole in the side of the flower that they or other floral visitors create. This behavior is called "nectar robbing" because bees may acquire the nectar without transporting pollen. We asked whether the presence of a symmetric floral nectar guide pattern on artificial flowers affected bumble bees' (Bombus impatiens) propensity to rob or access nectar "legitimately." We discovered that nectar guides made legitimate visits more efficient for bees than robbing, and increased the relative frequency of legitimate visits, compared to flowers lacking nectar guides. This study is the first to show that beyond speeding nectar discovery, a nectar guide pattern can influence bees' flower handling in a way that could benefit the plant. PMID:23418475

  19. Absence of Leishmaniinae and Nosematidae in stingless bees

    PubMed Central

    Nunes-Silva, Patrícia; Piot, Niels; Meeus, Ivan; Blochtein, Betina; Smagghe, Guy

    2016-01-01

    Bee pollination is an indispensable component of global food production and plays a crucial role in sustainable agriculture. The worldwide decline of bee populations, including wild pollinators, poses a threat to this system. However, most studies to date are situated in temperate regions where Apini and Bombini are very abundant pollinators. Tropical and subtropical regions where stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini) are generally very common, are often overlooked. These bees also face pressure due to deforestation and agricultural intensification as well as the growing use and spread of exotic pollinators as Apis mellifera and Bombus species. The loss or decline of this important bee tribe would have a large impact on their provided ecosystem services, in both wild and agricultural landscapes. The importance of pollinator diseases, which can contribute to decline, has not been investigated so far in this bee tribe. Here we report on the first large pathogen screening of Meliponini species in southern Brazil. Remarkably we observed that there was an absence of Leishmaniinae and Nosematidae, and a very low occurrence of Apicystis bombi. Our data on disease prevalence in both understudied areas and species, can greatly improve our knowledge on the distribution of pathogens among bee species. PMID:27586080

  20. Absence of Leishmaniinae and Nosematidae in stingless bees.

    PubMed

    Nunes-Silva, Patrícia; Piot, Niels; Meeus, Ivan; Blochtein, Betina; Smagghe, Guy

    2016-01-01

    Bee pollination is an indispensable component of global food production and plays a crucial role in sustainable agriculture. The worldwide decline of bee populations, including wild pollinators, poses a threat to this system. However, most studies to date are situated in temperate regions where Apini and Bombini are very abundant pollinators. Tropical and subtropical regions where stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini) are generally very common, are often overlooked. These bees also face pressure due to deforestation and agricultural intensification as well as the growing use and spread of exotic pollinators as Apis mellifera and Bombus species. The loss or decline of this important bee tribe would have a large impact on their provided ecosystem services, in both wild and agricultural landscapes. The importance of pollinator diseases, which can contribute to decline, has not been investigated so far in this bee tribe. Here we report on the first large pathogen screening of Meliponini species in southern Brazil. Remarkably we observed that there was an absence of Leishmaniinae and Nosematidae, and a very low occurrence of Apicystis bombi. Our data on disease prevalence in both understudied areas and species, can greatly improve our knowledge on the distribution of pathogens among bee species. PMID:27586080

  1. Distribution and diversity of Nosema bombi (Microsporidia: Nosematidae) in the natural populations of bumblebees (Bombus spp.) from West Siberia.

    PubMed

    Vavilova, Valeriya; Sormacheva, Irina; Woyciechowski, Michal; Eremeeva, Natalia; Fet, Victor; Strachecka, Aneta; Bayborodin, Sergey I; Blinov, Alexander

    2015-09-01

    Nosema bombi is an obligate intracellular parasite of bumblebees (Hymenoptera, Bombus spp.), which has significant negative effect on individual bumblebees, colony fitness, and development. Recently, several new genetic variants of N. bombi without a defined taxonomic status were identified in natural bumblebee populations from Russia, China, and several European countries, as well as N. ceranae, originally isolated from honey bees, was described in bumblebee species. Thus, it is required to investigate more Nosema variability in bumblebee populations for identifying new genetic Nosema variants. In our study, we used several methods such as total DNA isolation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification, cloning, sequencing, and comparative and phylogenetic analysis to investigate a prevalence of N. bombi and its diversity in the natural populations of bumblebees across West Siberia. DNA was extracted from intestinal bumblebee tissues. Identification of the parasite was conducted, using PCR with primers specific for the ribosomal RNA gene cluster and methionine aminopeptidase 2 gene of N. bombi followed by sequencing. Seven hundred twenty-seven individual bumblebees belonging to 16 species were tested; 64 specimens revealed presence of the parasite. Prevalence of Nosema bombi infection was different in each region and varied from 4 to 20 %. No infection was found in Bombus agrorum (n = 194) and Bombus equestris (n = 132), both common bumblebees in West Siberia. Three different genetic variants of the same species, N. bombi, were identified. The first variant belonged to N. bombi (AY008373) identified by Fies et al. (J Apicult Res 40:91-96, 2001), second (N. bombi WS2) was identical to the West Siberian variant identified by Szentgyörgyi et al. (Polish Journal of Ecology 59:599-610, 2011), and the last variant, N. bombi WS3, was new. The results led us to suggest that the prevalence of the N. bombi is related to the population structure of bumblebees and

  2. Gene expression differences in relation to age and social environment in queen and worker bumble bees.

    PubMed

    Lockett, Gabrielle A; Almond, Edward J; Huggins, Timothy J; Parker, Joel D; Bourke, Andrew F G

    2016-05-01

    Eusocial insects provide special insights into the genetic pathways influencing aging because of their long-lived queens and flexible aging schedules. Using qRT-PCR in the primitively eusocial bumble bee Bombus terrestris (Linnaeus), we investigated expression levels of four candidate genes associated with taxonomically widespread age-related pathways (coenzyme Q biosynthesis protein 7, COQ7; DNA methyltransferase 3, Dnmt3; foraging, for; and vitellogenin, vg). In Experiment 1, we tested how expression changes with queen relative age and productivity. We found a significant age-related increase in COQ7 expression in queen ovary. In brain, all four genes showed higher expression with increasing female (queen plus worker) production, with this relationship strengthening as queen age increased, suggesting a link with the positive association of fecundity and longevity found in eusocial insect queens. In Experiment 2, we tested effects of relative age and social environment (worker removal) in foundress queens and effects of age and reproductive status in workers. In this experiment, workerless queens showed significantly higher for expression in brain, as predicted if downregulation of for is associated with the cessation of foraging by foundress queens following worker emergence. Workers showed a significant age-related increase in Dnmt3 expression in fat body, suggesting a novel association between aging and methylation in B. terrestris. Ovary activation was associated with significantly higher vg expression in fat body and, in younger workers, in brain, consistent with vitellogenin's ancestral role in regulating egg production. Overall, our findings reveal a mixture of novel and conserved features in age-related genetic pathways under primitive eusociality. PMID:26883339

  3. Managing honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) for greenhouse tomato pollination.

    PubMed

    Sabara, Holly A; Winston, Mark L

    2003-06-01

    Although commercially reared colonies of bumble bees (Bombus sp.) are the primary pollinator world-wide for greenhouse tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) previous research indicates that honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) might be a feasible alternative or supplement to bumble bee pollination. However, management methods for honey bee greenhouse tomato pollination scarcely have been explored. We 1) tested the effect of initial amounts of brood on colony population size and flight activity in screened greenhouses during the winter, and 2) compared foraging from colonies with brood used within screened and unscreened greenhouses during the summer. Brood rearing was maintained at low levels in both brood and no-brood colonies after 21 d during the winter, and emerging honey bees from both treatments had significantly lower weights than bees from outdoor colonies. Honey bee flight activity throughout the day and over the 21 d in the greenhouse was not influenced by initial brood level. In our summer experiment, brood production in screened greenhouses neared zero after 21 d but higher levels of brood were reared in unscreened greenhouses with access to outside forage. Flower visitation measured throughout the day and over the 21 d the colonies were in the greenhouse was not influenced by screening treatment. An economic analysis indicated that managing honey bees for greenhouse tomato pollination would be financially viable for both beekeepers and growers. We conclude that honey bees can be successfully managed for greenhouse tomato pollination in both screened and unscreened greenhouses if the foraging force is maintained by replacing colonies every 3 wk. PMID:12852587

  4. Efficiency of local Indonesia honey bees (Apis cerana L.) and stingless bee (Trigona iridipennis) on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) pollination.

    PubMed

    Putra, Ramadhani Eka; Kinasih, Ida

    2014-01-01

    Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is considered as one of major agricultural commodity of Indonesia farming. However, monthly production is unstable due to lack of pollination services. Common pollinator agent of tomatoes is bumblebees which is unsuitable for tropical climate of Indonesia and the possibility of alteration of local wild plant interaction with their pollinator. Indonesia is rich with wild bees and some of the species already domesticated for years with prospect as pollinating agent for tomatoes. This research aimed to assess the efficiency of local honey bee (Apis cerana L.) and stingless bee (Trigona iridipennis), as pollinator of tomato. During this research, total visitation rate and total numbers of pollinated flowers by honey bee and stingless bee were compared between them with bagged flowers as control. Total fruit production, average weight and size also measured in order to correlated pollination efficiency with quantity and quality of fruit produced. Result of this research showed that A. cerana has slightly higher rate of visitation (p>0.05) and significantly shorter handling time (p < 0.05) than T. iridipennis due to their larger colony demand and low reward provide by tomato flowers. However, honey bee pollinated tomato flowers more efficient pollinator than stingless bee (80.3 and 70.2% efficiency, respectively; p < 0.05) even though the average weight and size of tomatoes were similar (p>0.05). Based on the results, it is concluded that the use of Apis cerana and Trigona spp., for pollinating tomatoes in tropical climates could be an alternative to the use of non-native Apis mellifera and bumblebees (Bombus spp.). However, more researches are needed to evaluate the cost/benefit on large-scale farming and greenhouse pollination using both bees against other bee species and pollination methods. PMID:24783783

  5. High prevalence and infection levels of Nosema ceranae in bumblebees Bombus atratus and Bombus bellicosus from Uruguay.

    PubMed

    Arbulo, N; Antúnez, K; Salvarrey, S; Santos, E; Branchiccela, B; Martín-Hernández, R; Higes, M; Invernizzi, C

    2015-09-01

    Nosema ceranae is one of the most prevalent pathogens in Apis mellifera and has recently been found in multiple host species including several species of bumblebees. Prevalence and infection intensity of N. ceranae was determined in two species of native bumblebees from Uruguay. Nosema ceranae was the only microsporidia identified and mean prevalence was 72% in Bombus atratus and 63% in Bombus bellicosus, values much higher than those reported elsewhere. The presence of this pathogen in bumblebees may be threatening not only for bumblebee populations, but also to the rest of the native pollinator community and to honeybees. PMID:26248064

  6. Floral Nectar Guide Patterns Discourage Nectar Robbing by Bumble Bees

    PubMed Central

    Leonard, Anne S.; Brent, Joshua; Papaj, Daniel R.; Dornhaus, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Floral displays are under selection to both attract pollinators and deter antagonists. Here we show that a common floral trait, a nectar guide pattern, alters the behavior of bees that can act opportunistically as both pollinators and as antagonists. Generally, bees access nectar via the floral limb, transporting pollen through contact with the plant’s reproductive structures; however bees sometimes extract nectar from a hole in the side of the flower that they or other floral visitors create. This behavior is called “nectar robbing” because bees may acquire the nectar without transporting pollen. We asked whether the presence of a symmetric floral nectar guide pattern on artificial flowers affected bumble bees’ (Bombus impatiens) propensity to rob or access nectar “legitimately.” We discovered that nectar guides made legitimate visits more efficient for bees than robbing, and increased the relative frequency of legitimate visits, compared to flowers lacking nectar guides. This study is the first to show that beyond speeding nectar discovery, a nectar guide pattern can influence bees’ flower handling in a way that could benefit the plant. PMID:23418475

  7. Increased Acetylcholinesterase Expression in Bumble Bees During Neonicotinoid-Coated Corn Sowing.

    PubMed

    Samson-Robert, Olivier; Labrie, Geneviève; Mercier, Pierre-Luc; Chagnon, Madeleine; Derome, Nicolas; Fournier, Valérie

    2015-01-01

    While honey bee exposure to systemic insecticides has received much attention, impacts on wild pollinators have not been as widely studied. Neonicotinoids have been shown to increase acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in honey bees at sublethal doses. High AChE levels may therefore act as a biomarker of exposure to neonicotinoids. This two-year study focused on establishing whether bumble bees living and foraging in agricultural areas using neonicotinoid crop protection show early biochemical signs of intoxication. Bumble bee colonies (Bombus impatiens) were placed in two different agricultural cropping areas: 1) control (≥ 3 km from fields planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds) or 2) exposed (within 500 m of fields planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds), and maintained for the duration of corn sowing. As determined by Real Time qPCR, AChE mRNA expression was initially significantly higher in bumble bees from exposed sites, then decreased throughout the planting season to reach a similar endpoint to that of bumble bees from control sites. These findings suggest that exposure to neonicotinoid seed coating particles during the planting season can alter bumble bee neuronal activity. To our knowledge, this is the first study to report in situ that bumble bees living in agricultural areas exhibit signs of neonicotinoid intoxication. PMID:26223214

  8. Increased Acetylcholinesterase Expression in Bumble Bees During Neonicotinoid-Coated Corn Sowing

    PubMed Central

    Samson-Robert, Olivier; Labrie, Geneviève; Mercier, Pierre-Luc; Chagnon, Madeleine; Derome, Nicolas; Fournier, Valérie

    2015-01-01

    While honey bee exposure to systemic insecticides has received much attention, impacts on wild pollinators have not been as widely studied. Neonicotinoids have been shown to increase acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in honey bees at sublethal doses. High AChE levels may therefore act as a biomarker of exposure to neonicotinoids. This two-year study focused on establishing whether bumble bees living and foraging in agricultural areas using neonicotinoid crop protection show early biochemical signs of intoxication. Bumble bee colonies (Bombus impatiens) were placed in two different agricultural cropping areas: 1) control (≥3 km from fields planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds) or 2) exposed (within 500 m of fields planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds), and maintained for the duration of corn sowing. As determined by Real Time qPCR, AChE mRNA expression was initially significantly higher in bumble bees from exposed sites, then decreased throughout the planting season to reach a similar endpoint to that of bumble bees from control sites. These findings suggest that exposure to neonicotinoid seed coating particles during the planting season can alter bumble bee neuronal activity. To our knowledge, this is the first study to report in situ that bumble bees living in agricultural areas exhibit signs of neonicotinoid intoxication. PMID:26223214

  9. Bee, Definition of

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honey bees constitute a small genus of highly derived bees. Bees as a group are ubiquitous, often predominant wildland pollinators. Today, 16,000 species of bees are known. They have proliferated wherever flowers grow. Several hundred species of bees exist at most locales. Sociality is unusual a...

  10. Bee Stings & Their Consequences.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rupp, Robert M.

    1991-01-01

    Relevant information concerning bee stings is provided. Possible reactions to a bee sting and their symptoms, components of bee venom, diagnosis of hypersensitivity, and bee sting prevention and treatment are topics of discussion. The possibility of bee stings occurring during field trips and the required precautions are discussed. (KR)

  11. Bee Weekend.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beidler, Peter G.

    1987-01-01

    Recounts weekend at a bee farm, an activity for a required Lehigh University freshman English composition course designed to facilitate socialization and exchange of ideas and to provide experiences for students to write about. Uses excerpts from journals of nine students. (NEC)

  12. Alkali Bee

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alkali bee, Nomia melanderi, is native to deserts and semi-arid desert basins of the western United States. It is a very effective and manageable pollinator for the production of seed in alfalfa (=lucerne) and some other crops, such as onion. It is the world’s only intensively managed ground-n...

  13. Wing Shape of Four New Bee Fossils (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) Provides Insights to Bee Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Dehon, Manuel; Michez, Denis; Nel, André; Engel, Michael S.; De Meulemeester, Thibaut

    2014-01-01

    Bees (Anthophila) are one of the major groups of angiosperm-pollinating insects and accordingly are widely studied in both basic and applied research, for which it is essential to have a clear understanding of their phylogeny, and evolutionary history. Direct evidence of bee evolutionary history has been hindered by a dearth of available fossils needed to determine the timing and tempo of their diversification, as well as episodes of extinction. Here we describe four new compression fossils of bees from three different deposits (Miocene of la Cerdanya, Spain; Oligocene of Céreste, France; and Eocene of the Green River Formation, U.S.A.). We assess the similarity of the forewing shape of the new fossils with extant and fossil taxa using geometric morphometrics analyses. Predictive discriminant analyses show that three fossils share similar forewing shapes with the Apidae [one of uncertain tribal placement and perhaps near Euglossini, one definitive bumble bee (Bombini), and one digger bee (Anthophorini)], while one fossil is more similar to the Andrenidae. The corbiculate fossils are described as Euglossopteryx biesmeijeri De Meulemeester, Michez, & Engel, gen. nov. sp. nov. (type species of Euglossopteryx Dehon & Engel, n. gen.) and Bombus cerdanyensis Dehon, De Meulemeester, & Engel, sp. nov. They provide new information on the distribution and timing of particular corbiculate groups, most notably the extension into North America of possible Eocene-Oligocene cooling-induced extinctions. Protohabropoda pauli De Meulemeester & Michez, gen. nov. sp. nov. (type species of Protohabropoda Dehon & Engel, n. gen.) reinforces previous hypotheses of anthophorine evolution in terms of ecological shifts by the Oligocene from tropical to mesic or xeric habitats. Lastly, a new fossil of the Andreninae, Andrena antoinei Michez & De Meulemeester, sp. nov., further documents the presence of the today widespread genus Andrena Fabricius in the Late Oligocene of France. PMID

  14. Wing shape of four new bee fossils (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) provides insights to bee evolution.

    PubMed

    Dehon, Manuel; Michez, Denis; Nel, André; Engel, Michael S; De Meulemeester, Thibaut

    2014-01-01

    Bees (Anthophila) are one of the major groups of angiosperm-pollinating insects and accordingly are widely studied in both basic and applied research, for which it is essential to have a clear understanding of their phylogeny, and evolutionary history. Direct evidence of bee evolutionary history has been hindered by a dearth of available fossils needed to determine the timing and tempo of their diversification, as well as episodes of extinction. Here we describe four new compression fossils of bees from three different deposits (Miocene of la Cerdanya, Spain; Oligocene of Céreste, France; and Eocene of the Green River Formation, U.S.A.). We assess the similarity of the forewing shape of the new fossils with extant and fossil taxa using geometric morphometrics analyses. Predictive discriminant analyses show that three fossils share similar forewing shapes with the Apidae [one of uncertain tribal placement and perhaps near Euglossini, one definitive bumble bee (Bombini), and one digger bee (Anthophorini)], while one fossil is more similar to the Andrenidae. The corbiculate fossils are described as Euglossopteryx biesmeijeri De Meulemeester, Michez, & Engel, gen. nov. sp. nov. (type species of Euglossopteryx Dehon & Engel, n. gen.) and Bombus cerdanyensis Dehon, De Meulemeester, & Engel, sp. nov. They provide new information on the distribution and timing of particular corbiculate groups, most notably the extension into North America of possible Eocene-Oligocene cooling-induced extinctions. Protohabropoda pauli De Meulemeester & Michez, gen. nov. sp. nov. (type species of Protohabropoda Dehon & Engel, n. gen.) reinforces previous hypotheses of anthophorine evolution in terms of ecological shifts by the Oligocene from tropical to mesic or xeric habitats. Lastly, a new fossil of the Andreninae, Andrena antoinei Michez & De Meulemeester, sp. nov., further documents the presence of the today widespread genus Andrena Fabricius in the Late Oligocene of France. PMID

  15. Modeling Honey Bee Populations

    PubMed Central

    Torres, David J.; Ricoy, Ulises M.; Roybal, Shanae

    2015-01-01

    Eusocial honey bee populations (Apis mellifera) employ an age stratification organization of egg, larvae, pupae, hive bees and foraging bees. Understanding the recent decline in honey bee colonies hinges on understanding the factors that impact each of these different age castes. We first perform an analysis of steady state bee populations given mortality rates within each bee caste and find that the honey bee colony is highly susceptible to hive and pupae mortality rates. Subsequently, we study transient bee population dynamics by building upon the modeling foundation established by Schmickl and Crailsheim and Khoury et al. Our transient model based on differential equations accounts for the effects of pheromones in slowing the maturation of hive bees to foraging bees, the increased mortality of larvae in the absence of sufficient hive bees, and the effects of food scarcity. We also conduct sensitivity studies and show the effects of parameter variations on the colony population. PMID:26148010

  16. First detection of the larval chalkbrood disease pathogen Ascosphaera apis (Ascomycota: Eurotiomycetes: Ascosphaerales) in adult bumble bees.

    PubMed

    Maxfield-Taylor, Sarah A; Mujic, Alija B; Rao, Sujaya

    2015-01-01

    Fungi in the genus Ascosphaera (Ascomycota: Eurotiomycetes: Ascosphaerales) cause chalkbrood disease in larvae of bees. Here, we report the first-ever detection of the fungus in adult bumble bees that were raised in captivity for studies on colony development. Wild queens of Bombus griseocollis, B. nevadensis and B. vosnesenskii were collected and maintained for establishment of nests. Queens that died during rearing or that did not lay eggs within one month of capture were dissected, and tissues were examined microscopically for the presence of pathogens. Filamentous fungi that were detected were plated on artificial media containing broad spectrum antibiotics for isolation and identification. Based on morphological characters, the fungus was identified as Ascosphaera apis (Maasen ex Claussen) Olive and Spiltoir, a species that has been reported earlier only from larvae of the European honey bee, Apis mellifera, the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana, and the carpenter bee Xylocopa californica arizonensis. The identity of the fungus was confirmed using molecular markers and phylogenetic analysis. Ascosphaera apis was detected in queens of all three bumble bee species examined. Of 150 queens dissected, 12 (8%) contained vegetative and reproductive stages of the fungus. Both fungal stages were also detected in two workers collected from colonies with Ascosphaera-infected B. nevadensis queens. In this study, wild bees could have been infected prior to capture for rearing, or, the A. apis infection could have originated via contaminated European honey bee pollen fed to the bumble bees in captivity. Thus, the discovery of A. apis in adult bumble bees in the current study has important implications for commercial production of bumble bee colonies and highlights potential risks to native bees via pathogen spillover from infected bees and infected pollen. PMID:25885679

  17. First Detection of the Larval Chalkbrood Disease Pathogen Ascosphaera apis (Ascomycota: Eurotiomycetes: Ascosphaerales) in Adult Bumble Bees

    PubMed Central

    Maxfield-Taylor, Sarah A.; Mujic, Alija B.; Rao, Sujaya

    2015-01-01

    Fungi in the genus Ascosphaera (Ascomycota: Eurotiomycetes: Ascosphaerales) cause chalkbrood disease in larvae of bees. Here, we report the first-ever detection of the fungus in adult bumble bees that were raised in captivity for studies on colony development. Wild queens of Bombus griseocollis, B. nevadensis and B. vosnesenskii were collected and maintained for establishment of nests. Queens that died during rearing or that did not lay eggs within one month of capture were dissected, and tissues were examined microscopically for the presence of pathogens. Filamentous fungi that were detected were plated on artificial media containing broad spectrum antibiotics for isolation and identification. Based on morphological characters, the fungus was identified as Ascosphaera apis (Maasen ex Claussen) Olive and Spiltoir, a species that has been reported earlier only from larvae of the European honey bee, Apis mellifera, the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana, and the carpenter bee Xylocopa californica arizonensis. The identity of the fungus was confirmed using molecular markers and phylogenetic analysis. Ascosphaera apis was detected in queens of all three bumble bee species examined. Of 150 queens dissected, 12 (8%) contained vegetative and reproductive stages of the fungus. Both fungal stages were also detected in two workers collected from colonies with Ascosphaera-infected B. nevadensis queens. In this study, wild bees could have been infected prior to capture for rearing, or, the A. apis infection could have originated via contaminated European honey bee pollen fed to the bumble bees in captivity. Thus, the discovery of A. apis in adult bumble bees in the current study has important implications for commercial production of bumble bee colonies and highlights potential risks to native bees via pathogen spillover from infected bees and infected pollen. PMID:25885679

  18. The Bee Microbiome: Impact on Bee Health and Model for Evolution and Ecology of Host-Microbe Interactions.

    PubMed

    Engel, Philipp; Kwong, Waldan K; McFrederick, Quinn; Anderson, Kirk E; Barribeau, Seth Michael; Chandler, James Angus; Cornman, R Scott; Dainat, Jacques; de Miranda, Joachim R; Doublet, Vincent; Emery, Olivier; Evans, Jay D; Farinelli, Laurent; Flenniken, Michelle L; Granberg, Fredrik; Grasis, Juris A; Gauthier, Laurent; Hayer, Juliette; Koch, Hauke; Kocher, Sarah; Martinson, Vincent G; Moran, Nancy; Munoz-Torres, Monica; Newton, Irene; Paxton, Robert J; Powell, Eli; Sadd, Ben M; Schmid-Hempel, Paul; Schmid-Hempel, Regula; Song, Se Jin; Schwarz, Ryan S; vanEngelsdorp, Dennis; Dainat, Benjamin

    2016-01-01

    As pollinators, bees are cornerstones for terrestrial ecosystem stability and key components in agricultural productivity. All animals, including bees, are associated with a diverse community of microbes, commonly referred to as the microbiome. The bee microbiome is likely to be a crucial factor affecting host health. However, with the exception of a few pathogens, the impacts of most members of the bee microbiome on host health are poorly understood. Further, the evolutionary and ecological forces that shape and change the microbiome are unclear. Here, we discuss recent progress in our understanding of the bee microbiome, and we present challenges associated with its investigation. We conclude that global coordination of research efforts is needed to fully understand the complex and highly dynamic nature of the interplay between the bee microbiome, its host, and the environment. High-throughput sequencing technologies are ideal for exploring complex biological systems, including host-microbe interactions. To maximize their value and to improve assessment of the factors affecting bee health, sequence data should be archived, curated, and analyzed in ways that promote the synthesis of different studies. To this end, the BeeBiome consortium aims to develop an online database which would provide reference sequences, archive metadata, and host analytical resources. The goal would be to support applied and fundamental research on bees and their associated microbes and to provide a collaborative framework for sharing primary data from different research programs, thus furthering our understanding of the bee microbiome and its impact on pollinator health. PMID:27118586

  19. The bee microbiome: Impact on bee health and model for evolution and ecology of host-microbe interactions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Engel, Philipp; Kwong, Waldan K.; McFrederick, Quinn; Anderson, Kirk E.; Barribeau, Seth Michael; Chandler, James Angus; Cornman, Robert S.; Dainat, Jacques; de Miranda, Joachim R.; Doublet, Vincent; Emery, Olivier; Evans, Jay D.; Farinelli, Laurent; Flenniken, Michelle L.; Granberg, Fredrik; Grasis, Juris A.; Gauthier, Laurent; Hayer, Juliette; Koch, Hauke; Kocher, Sarah; Martinson, Vincent G.; Moran, Nancy; Munoz-Torres, Monica; Newton, Irene; Paxton, Robert J.; Powell, Eli; Sadd, Ben M.; Schmid-Hempel, Paul; Schmid-Hempel, Regula; Song, Se Jin; Schwarz, Ryan S.; vanEngelsdorp, Dennis; Dainat, Benjamin

    2016-01-01

    As pollinators, bees are cornerstones for terrestrial ecosystem stability and key components in agricultural productivity. All animals, including bees, are associated with a diverse community of microbes, commonly referred to as the microbiome. The bee microbiome is likely to be a crucial factor affecting host health. However, with the exception of a few pathogens, the impacts of most members of the bee microbiome on host health are poorly understood. Further, the evolutionary and ecological forces that shape and change the microbiome are unclear. Here, we discuss recent progress in our understanding of the bee microbiome, and we present challenges associated with its investigation. We conclude that global coordination of research efforts is needed to fully understand the complex and highly dynamic nature of the interplay between the bee microbiome, its host, and the environment. High-throughput sequencing technologies are ideal for exploring complex biological systems, including host-microbe interactions. To maximize their value and to improve assessment of the factors affecting bee health, sequence data should be archived, curated, and analyzed in ways that promote the synthesis of different studies. To this end, the BeeBiome consortium aims to develop an online database which would provide reference sequences, archive metadata, and host analytical resources. The goal would be to support applied and fundamental research on bees and their associated microbes and to provide a collaborative framework for sharing primary data from different research programs, thus furthering our understanding of the bee microbiome and its impact on pollinator health.

  20. The Bee Microbiome: Impact on Bee Health and Model for Evolution and Ecology of Host-Microbe Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Kwong, Waldan K.; McFrederick, Quinn; Anderson, Kirk E.; Barribeau, Seth Michael; Chandler, James Angus; Cornman, R. Scott; Dainat, Jacques; Doublet, Vincent; Emery, Olivier; Evans, Jay D.; Farinelli, Laurent; Flenniken, Michelle L.; Granberg, Fredrik; Grasis, Juris A.; Gauthier, Laurent; Hayer, Juliette; Koch, Hauke; Kocher, Sarah; Martinson, Vincent G.; Moran, Nancy; Munoz-Torres, Monica; Newton, Irene; Paxton, Robert J.; Powell, Eli; Sadd, Ben M.; Schmid-Hempel, Paul; Schmid-Hempel, Regula; Schwarz, Ryan S.; vanEngelsdorp, Dennis

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT As pollinators, bees are cornerstones for terrestrial ecosystem stability and key components in agricultural productivity. All animals, including bees, are associated with a diverse community of microbes, commonly referred to as the microbiome. The bee microbiome is likely to be a crucial factor affecting host health. However, with the exception of a few pathogens, the impacts of most members of the bee microbiome on host health are poorly understood. Further, the evolutionary and ecological forces that shape and change the microbiome are unclear. Here, we discuss recent progress in our understanding of the bee microbiome, and we present challenges associated with its investigation. We conclude that global coordination of research efforts is needed to fully understand the complex and highly dynamic nature of the interplay between the bee microbiome, its host, and the environment. High-throughput sequencing technologies are ideal for exploring complex biological systems, including host-microbe interactions. To maximize their value and to improve assessment of the factors affecting bee health, sequence data should be archived, curated, and analyzed in ways that promote the synthesis of different studies. To this end, the BeeBiome consortium aims to develop an online database which would provide reference sequences, archive metadata, and host analytical resources. The goal would be to support applied and fundamental research on bees and their associated microbes and to provide a collaborative framework for sharing primary data from different research programs, thus furthering our understanding of the bee microbiome and its impact on pollinator health. PMID:27118586

  1. A survey of bees (hymenoptera: Apoidea) of the Indiana dunes and Northwest Indiana, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grundel, R.; Jean, R.P.; Frohnapple, K.J.; Gibbs, J.; Glowacki, G.A.; Pavlovic, N.B.

    2011-01-01

    The Indiana Dunes, and nearby natural areas in northwest Indiana, are floristically rich Midwest U.S. locales with many habitat types. We surveyed bees along a habitat gradient ranging from grasslands to forests in these locales, collecting at least 175 bee species along this gradient plus 29 additional species in other nearby habitats. About 25% of all species were from the genus Lasioglossum and 12% of the species were associated with sandy soils. Several bumblebee (Bombus) species of conservation concern that should occur in this region were not collected during our surveys. Similarity of the northwest Indiana bee fauna to other published U.S. faunas decreased about 1.3% per 100 km distance from northwest Indiana. Thirty percent of bees netted from flowers were males. Males and females differed significantly in their frequency of occurrence on different plant species. For bees collected in bowl traps, the percentage captured in fluorescent yellow traps declined and in fluorescent blue traps increased from spring to late summer. Capture rates for different bee genera varied temporally, with about a quarter of the genera being captured most frequently in late spring and a quarter in late summer. Capture rates for most genera were higher in more open than in more closed canopy habitats. The maximum number of plant species on which a single bee species was captured plateaued at 24, on average. Forty-nine percent of bee species known to occur in Indiana were found at these northwest Indiana sites. Having this relatively high proportion of the total Indiana bee fauna is consistent with Indiana Dunes existing at a biogeographic crossroads where grassland and forest biomes meet in a landscape whose climate and soils are affected by proximity to Lake Michigan. The resulting habitat, plant, edaphic, and climatic diversity likely produces the diverse bee community documented.

  2. Photoreceptor Processing Speed and Input Resistance Changes during Light Adaptation Correlate with Spectral Class in the Bumblebee, Bombus impatiens

    PubMed Central

    Skorupski, Peter; Chittka, Lars

    2011-01-01

    Colour vision depends on comparison of signals from photoreceptors with different spectral sensitivities. However, response properties of photoreceptor cells may differ in ways other than spectral tuning. In insects, for example, broadband photoreceptors, with a major sensitivity peak in the green region of the spectrum (>500 nm), drive fast visual processes, which are largely blind to chromatic signals from more narrowly-tuned photoreceptors with peak sensitivities in the blue and UV regions of the spectrum. In addition, electrophysiological properties of the photoreceptor membrane may result in differences in response dynamics of photoreceptors of similar spectral class between species, and different spectral classes within a species. We used intracellular electrophysiological techniques to investigate response dynamics of the three spectral classes of photoreceptor underlying trichromatic colour vision in the bumblebee, Bombus impatiens, and we compare these with previously published data from a related species, Bombus terrestris. In both species, we found significantly faster responses in green, compared with blue- or UV-sensitive photoreceptors, although all 3 photoreceptor types are slower in B. impatiens than in B. terrestris. Integration times for light-adapted B. impatiens photoreceptors (estimated from impulse response half-width) were 11.3±1.6 ms for green photoreceptors compared with 18.6±4.4 ms and 15.6±4.4 for blue and UV, respectively. We also measured photoreceptor input resistance in dark- and light-adapted conditions. All photoreceptors showed a decrease in input resistance during light adaptation, but this decrease was considerably larger (declining to about 22% of the dark value) in green photoreceptors, compared to blue and UV (41% and 49%, respectively). Our results suggest that the conductances associated with light adaptation are largest in green photoreceptors, contributing to their greater temporal processing speed. We suggest that the

  3. Comparison of buckwheat, red clover, and purple tansy as potential surrogate plants for use in semi-field pesticide risk assessments with Bombus impatiens.

    PubMed

    Gradish, Angela E; Cutler, G Christopher; Frewin, Andrew J; Scott-Dupree, Cynthia D

    2016-01-01

    Background. Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are important wild and managed pollinators. There is increased interest in incorporating data on bumble bees into risk assessments for pesticides, but standardized methods for assessing hazards of pesticides in semi-field and field settings have not yet been established for bumble bees. During semi-field studies, colonies are caged with pesticide-treated flowering surrogate plants, which must be attractive to foragers to ensure colony exposure to the test compound, and must produce an ample nectar and pollen to sustain colonies during testing. However, it is not known which plant(s) are suitable for use in semi-field studies with bumble bees. Materials and Methods. We compared B. impatiens foraging activity and colony development on small plots of flowering buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum, var. common), red clover (Trifolium pratense), and purple tansy (Phacelia tanacetifolia) under semi-field conditions to assess their suitability as surrogate plants for pesticide risk assessment studies with bumble bees. We also compared the growth characteristics and input requirements of each plant type. Results. All three plant types generally established and grew well. Red clover and purple tansy experienced significant weed pressure and/or insect pest damage. In contrast, pest pressure was extremely low in buckwheat. Overall, B. impatiens foraging activity was significantly greater on buckwheat plots than red clover or purple tansy, but plant type had no effect on number of individuals produced per colony or colony weight. Discussion. Because of the consistently high foraging activity and successful colony development observed on buckwheat plots, combined with its favourable growth characteristics and low maintenance requirements, we recommend buckwheat as a surrogate plant for use in semi-field pesticide toxicity assessments with B. impatiens. PMID:27478712

  4. Comparison of buckwheat, red clover, and purple tansy as potential surrogate plants for use in semi-field pesticide risk assessments with Bombus impatiens

    PubMed Central

    Cutler, G. Christopher; Frewin, Andrew J.; Scott-Dupree, Cynthia D.

    2016-01-01

    Background. Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are important wild and managed pollinators. There is increased interest in incorporating data on bumble bees into risk assessments for pesticides, but standardized methods for assessing hazards of pesticides in semi-field and field settings have not yet been established for bumble bees. During semi-field studies, colonies are caged with pesticide-treated flowering surrogate plants, which must be attractive to foragers to ensure colony exposure to the test compound, and must produce an ample nectar and pollen to sustain colonies during testing. However, it is not known which plant(s) are suitable for use in semi-field studies with bumble bees. Materials and Methods. We compared B. impatiens foraging activity and colony development on small plots of flowering buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum, var. common), red clover (Trifolium pratense), and purple tansy (Phacelia tanacetifolia) under semi-field conditions to assess their suitability as surrogate plants for pesticide risk assessment studies with bumble bees. We also compared the growth characteristics and input requirements of each plant type. Results. All three plant types generally established and grew well. Red clover and purple tansy experienced significant weed pressure and/or insect pest damage. In contrast, pest pressure was extremely low in buckwheat. Overall, B. impatiens foraging activity was significantly greater on buckwheat plots than red clover or purple tansy, but plant type had no effect on number of individuals produced per colony or colony weight. Discussion. Because of the consistently high foraging activity and successful colony development observed on buckwheat plots, combined with its favourable growth characteristics and low maintenance requirements, we recommend buckwheat as a surrogate plant for use in semi-field pesticide toxicity assessments with B. impatiens. PMID:27478712

  5. Bee-Wild about Pollinators!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnson, Bonnie; Kil, Jenny; Evans, Elaine; Koomen, Michele Hollingsworth

    2014-01-01

    With their sunny stripes and fuzzy bodies, bees are beloved--but unfortunately, they are in trouble. Bee decline, of both wild bees as well as managed bees like honey bees, has been in the news for the last several years. Habitat loss, diseases, pests, and pesticides have made it difficult for bees to survive in many parts of our world (Walsh…

  6. Assessing Insecticide Hazard to Bumble Bees Foraging on Flowering Weeds in Treated Lawns

    PubMed Central

    Larson, Jonathan L.; Redmond, Carl T.; Potter, Daniel A.

    2013-01-01

    Maintaining bee-friendly habitats in cities and suburbs can help conserve the vital pollination services of declining bee populations. Despite label precautions not to apply them to blooming plants, neonicotinoids and other residual systemic insecticides may be applied for preventive control of lawn insect pests when spring-flowering weeds are present. Dietary exposure to neonicotinoids adversely affects bees, but the extent of hazard from field usage is controversial. We exposed colonies of the bumble bee Bombus impatiens to turf with blooming white clover that had been treated with clothianidin, a neonicotinoid, or with chlorantraniliprole, the first anthranilic diamide labeled for use on lawns. The sprays were applied at label rate and lightly irrigated. After residues had dried, colonies were confined to forage for six days, and then moved to a non-treated rural site to openly forage and develop. Colonies exposed to clothianidin-treated weedy turf had delayed weight gain and produced no new queens whereas those exposed to chlorantraniliprole-treated plots developed normally compared with controls. Neither bumble bees nor honey bees avoided foraging on treated white clover in open plots. Nectar from clover blooms directly contaminated by spray residues contained 171±44 ppb clothianidin. Notably, neither insecticide adversely impacted bee colonies confined on the treated turf after it had been mown to remove clover blooms present at the time of treatment, and new blooms had formed. Our results validate EPA label precautionary statements not to apply neonicotinoids to blooming nectar-producing plants if bees may visit the treatment area. Whatever systemic hazard through lawn weeds they may pose appears transitory, however, and direct hazard can be mitigated by adhering to label precautions, or if blooms inadvertently are contaminated, by mowing to remove them. Chlorantraniliprole usage on lawns appears non-hazardous to bumble bees. PMID:23776667

  7. Assessing insecticide hazard to bumble bees foraging on flowering weeds in treated lawns.

    PubMed

    Larson, Jonathan L; Redmond, Carl T; Potter, Daniel A

    2013-01-01

    Maintaining bee-friendly habitats in cities and suburbs can help conserve the vital pollination services of declining bee populations. Despite label precautions not to apply them to blooming plants, neonicotinoids and other residual systemic insecticides may be applied for preventive control of lawn insect pests when spring-flowering weeds are present. Dietary exposure to neonicotinoids adversely affects bees, but the extent of hazard from field usage is controversial. We exposed colonies of the bumble bee Bombus impatiens to turf with blooming white clover that had been treated with clothianidin, a neonicotinoid, or with chlorantraniliprole, the first anthranilic diamide labeled for use on lawns. The sprays were applied at label rate and lightly irrigated. After residues had dried, colonies were confined to forage for six days, and then moved to a non-treated rural site to openly forage and develop. Colonies exposed to clothianidin-treated weedy turf had delayed weight gain and produced no new queens whereas those exposed to chlorantraniliprole-treated plots developed normally compared with controls. Neither bumble bees nor honey bees avoided foraging on treated white clover in open plots. Nectar from clover blooms directly contaminated by spray residues contained 171±44 ppb clothianidin. Notably, neither insecticide adversely impacted bee colonies confined on the treated turf after it had been mown to remove clover blooms present at the time of treatment, and new blooms had formed. Our results validate EPA label precautionary statements not to apply neonicotinoids to blooming nectar-producing plants if bees may visit the treatment area. Whatever systemic hazard through lawn weeds they may pose appears transitory, however, and direct hazard can be mitigated by adhering to label precautions, or if blooms inadvertently are contaminated, by mowing to remove them. Chlorantraniliprole usage on lawns appears non-hazardous to bumble bees. PMID:23776667

  8. Bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Apiformes)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An illustrated overview of natural histories of bees is provided, including their evolutionary history, diversity, biogeography, development, nesting, mating, sociality, foraging, parasitism, and floral relationships. Each of the families of bees is then briefly reviewed....

  9. Patterns of widespread decline in North American bumble bees.

    PubMed

    Cameron, Sydney A; Lozier, Jeffrey D; Strange, James P; Koch, Jonathan B; Cordes, Nils; Solter, Leellen F; Griswold, Terry L

    2011-01-11

    Bumble bees (Bombus) are vitally important pollinators of wild plants and agricultural crops worldwide. Fragmentary observations, however, have suggested population declines in several North American species. Despite rising concern over these observations in the United States, highlighted in a recent National Academy of Sciences report, a national assessment of the geographic scope and possible causal factors of bumble bee decline is lacking. Here, we report results of a 3-y interdisciplinary study of changing distributions, population genetic structure, and levels of pathogen infection in bumble bee populations across the United States. We compare current and historical distributions of eight species, compiling a database of >73,000 museum records for comparison with data from intensive nationwide surveys of >16,000 specimens. We show that the relative abundances of four species have declined by up to 96% and that their surveyed geographic ranges have contracted by 23-87%, some within the last 20 y. We also show that declining populations have significantly higher infection levels of the microsporidian pathogen Nosema bombi and lower genetic diversity compared with co-occurring populations of the stable (nondeclining) species. Higher pathogen prevalence and reduced genetic diversity are, thus, realistic predictors of these alarming patterns of decline in North America, although cause and effect remain uncertain. PMID:21199943

  10. Inbreeding in Mimulus guttatus Reduces Visitation by Bumble Bee Pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Carr, David E.; Roulston, T’ai H.; Hart, Haley

    2014-01-01

    Inbreeding in plants typically reduces individual fitness but may also alter ecological interactions. This study examined the effect of inbreeding in the mixed-mating annual Mimulus guttatus on visitation by pollinators (Bombus impatiens) in greenhouse experiments. Previous studies of M. guttatus have shown that inbreeding reduced corolla size, flower number, and pollen quantity and quality. Using controlled crosses, we produced inbred and outbred families from three different M. guttatus populations. We recorded the plant genotypes that bees visited and the number of flowers probed per visit. In our first experiment, bees were 31% more likely to visit outbred plants than those selfed for one generation and 43% more likely to visit outbred plants than those selfed for two generations. Inbreeding had only a small effect on the number of flowers probed once bees arrived at a genotype. These differences were explained partially by differences in mean floral display and mean flower size, but even when these variables were controlled statistically, the effect of inbreeding remained large and significant. In a second experiment we quantified pollen viability from inbred and self plants. Bees were 37–54% more likely to visit outbred plants, depending on the population, even when controlling for floral display size. Pollen viability proved to be as important as floral display in predicting pollinator visitation in one population, but the overall explanatory power of a multiple regression model was weak. Our data suggested that bees use cues in addition to display size, flower size, and pollen reward quality in their discrimination of inbred plants. Discrimination against inbred plants could have effects on plant fitness and thereby reinforce selection for outcrossing. Inbreeding in plant populations could also reduce resource quality for pollinators, potentially resulting in negative effects on pollinator populations. PMID:25036035

  11. Flowers help bees cope with uncertainty: signal detection and the function of floral complexity

    PubMed Central

    Leonard, Anne S.; Dornhaus, Anna; Papaj, Daniel R.

    2011-01-01

    Plants often attract pollinators with floral displays composed of visual, olfactory, tactile and gustatory stimuli. Since pollinators' responses to each of these stimuli are usually studied independently, the question of why plants produce multi-component floral displays remains relatively unexplored. Here we used signal detection theory to test the hypothesis that complex displays reduce a pollinator's uncertainty about the floral signal. Specifically, we asked whether one component of the floral display, scent, improved a bee's certainty about the value of another component, color hue. We first trained two groups of bumble bees (Bombus impatiens Cresson) to discriminate between rewarding and unrewarding artificial flowers of slightly different hues in the presence vs absence of scent. In a test phase, we presented these bees with a gradient of floral hues and assessed their ability to identify the hue rewarded during training. We interpreted the extent to which bees' preferences were biased away from the unrewarding hue (‘peak shift’) as an indicator of uncertainty in color discrimination. Our data show that the presence of an olfactory signal reduces uncertainty regarding color: not only was color learning facilitated on scented flowers but also bees showed a lower amount of peak shift in the presence of scent. We explore potential mechanisms by which scent might reduce uncertainty about color, and discuss the broader significance of our results for our understanding of signal evolution. PMID:21147975

  12. Foraging Bumble Bees Weigh the Reliability of Personal and Social Information.

    PubMed

    Dunlap, Aimee S; Nielsen, Matthew E; Dornhaus, Anna; Papaj, Daniel R

    2016-05-01

    Many animals, including insects, make decisions using both personally gathered information and social information derived from the behavior of other, usually conspecific, individuals [1]. Moreover, animals adjust use of social versus personal information appropriately under a variety of experimental conditions [2-5]. An important factor in how information is used is the information's reliability, that is, how consistently the information is correlated with something of relevance in the environment [6]. The reliability of information determines which signals should be attended to during communication [6-9], which types of stimuli animals should learn about, and even whether learning should evolve [10, 11]. Here, we show that bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) account for the reliability of personally acquired information (which flower color was previously associated with reward) and social information (which flowers are chosen by other bees) in making foraging decisions; however, the two types of information are not treated equally. Bees prefer to use social information if it predicts a reward at all, but if social information becomes entirely unreliable, flower color will be used instead. This greater sensitivity to the reliability of social information, and avoidance of conspecifics in some cases, may reflect the specific ecological circumstances of bee foraging. Overall, the bees' ability to make decisions based on both personally acquired and socially derived information, and the relative reliability of both, demonstrates a new level of sophistication and flexibility in animal, particularly insect, decision-making. PMID:27133871

  13. Resource diversity and landscape-level homogeneity drive native bee foraging

    PubMed Central

    Jha, Shalene; Kremen, Claire

    2013-01-01

    Given widespread declines in pollinator communities and increasing global reliance on pollinator-dependent crops, there is an acute need to develop a mechanistic understanding of native pollinator population and foraging biology. Using a population genetics approach, we determine the impact of habitat and floral resource distributions on nesting and foraging patterns of a critical native pollinator, Bombus vosnesenskii. Our findings demonstrate that native bee foraging is far more plastic and extensive than previously believed and does not follow a simple optimal foraging strategy. Rather, bumble bees forage further in pursuit of species-rich floral patches and in landscapes where patch-to-patch variation in floral resources is less, regardless of habitat composition. Thus, our results reveal extreme foraging plasticity and demonstrate that floral diversity, not density, drives bee foraging distance. Furthermore, we find a negative impact of paved habitat and a positive impact of natural woodland on bumble bee nesting densities. Overall, this study reveals that natural and human-altered landscapes can be managed for increased native bee nesting and extended foraging, dually enhancing biodiversity and the spatial extent of pollination services. PMID:23267118

  14. Bees as Biosensors: Chemosensory Ability, Honey Bee Monitoring Systems, and Emergent Sensor Technologies Derived from the Pollinator Syndrome.

    PubMed

    Bromenshenk, Jerry J; Henderson, Colin B; Seccomb, Robert A; Welch, Phillip M; Debnam, Scott E; Firth, David R

    2015-12-01

    This review focuses on critical milestones in the development path for the use of bees, mainly honey bees and bumble bees, as sentinels and biosensors. These keystone species comprise the most abundant pollinators of agro-ecosystems. Pollinating 70%-80% of flowering terrestrial plants, bees and other insects propel the reproduction and survival of plants and themselves, as well as improve the quantity and quality of seeds, nuts, and fruits that feed birds, wildlife, and us. Flowers provide insects with energy, nutrients, and shelter, while pollinators are essential to global ecosystem productivity and stability. A rich and diverse milieu of chemical signals establishes and maintains this intimate partnership. Observations of bee odor search behavior extend back to Aristotle. In the past two decades great strides have been made in methods and instrumentation for the study and exploitation of bee search behavior and for examining intra-organismal chemical communication signals. In particular, bees can be trained to search for and localize sources for a variety of chemicals, which when coupled with emerging tracking and mapping technologies create novel potential for research, as well as bee and crop management. PMID:26529030

  15. Bees as Biosensors: Chemosensory Ability, Honey Bee Monitoring Systems, and Emergent Sensor Technologies Derived from the Pollinator Syndrome

    PubMed Central

    Bromenshenk, Jerry J.; Henderson, Colin B.; Seccomb, Robert A.; Welch, Phillip M.; Debnam, Scott E.; Firth, David R.

    2015-01-01

    This review focuses on critical milestones in the development path for the use of bees, mainly honey bees and bumble bees, as sentinels and biosensors. These keystone species comprise the most abundant pollinators of agro-ecosystems. Pollinating 70%–80% of flowering terrestrial plants, bees and other insects propel the reproduction and survival of plants and themselves, as well as improve the quantity and quality of seeds, nuts, and fruits that feed birds, wildlife, and us. Flowers provide insects with energy, nutrients, and shelter, while pollinators are essential to global ecosystem productivity and stability. A rich and diverse milieu of chemical signals establishes and maintains this intimate partnership. Observations of bee odor search behavior extend back to Aristotle. In the past two decades great strides have been made in methods and instrumentation for the study and exploitation of bee search behavior and for examining intra-organismal chemical communication signals. In particular, bees can be trained to search for and localize sources for a variety of chemicals, which when coupled with emerging tracking and mapping technologies create novel potential for research, as well as bee and crop management. PMID:26529030

  16. Widespread occurrence of honey bee pathogens in solitary bees.

    PubMed

    Ravoet, Jorgen; De Smet, Lina; Meeus, Ivan; Smagghe, Guy; Wenseleers, Tom; de Graaf, Dirk C

    2014-10-01

    Solitary bees and honey bees from a neighbouring apiary were screened for a broad set of putative pathogens including protists, fungi, spiroplasmas and viruses. Most sampled bees appeared to be infected with multiple parasites. Interestingly, viruses exclusively known from honey bees such as Apis mellifera Filamentous Virus and Varroa destructor Macula-like Virus were also discovered in solitary bees. A microsporidium found in Andrena vaga showed most resemblance to Nosema thomsoni. Our results suggest that bee hives represent a putative source of pathogens for other pollinators. Similarly, solitary bees may act as a reservoir of honey bee pathogens. PMID:25196470

  17. Individual lifetime pollen and nectar foraging preferences in bumble bees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hagbery, Jessica; Nieh, James C.

    2012-10-01

    Foraging specialization plays an important role in the ability of social insects to efficiently allocate labor. However, relatively little is known about the degree to which individual bumble bees specialize on collecting nectar or pollen, when such preferences manifest, and if individuals can alter their foraging preferences in response to changes in the colony workforce. Using Bombus impatiens, we monitored all foraging visits made by every bee in multiple colonies and showed that individual foragers exhibit consistent lifetime foraging preferences. Based upon the distribution of foraging preferences, we defined three forager types (pollen specialists, nectar specialists, and generalists). In unmanipulated colonies, 16-36 % of individuals specialized (≥90 % of visits) on nectar or pollen only. On its first day of foraging, an individual's foraging choices (nectar only, pollen only, or nectar and pollen) significantly predicted its lifetime foraging preferences. Foragers that only collected pollen on their first day of foraging made 1.61- to 1.67-fold more lifetime pollen foraging visits (as a proportion of total trips) than foragers that only collected nectar on their first foraging day. Foragers were significantly larger than bees that stayed only in the nest. We also determined the effect of removing pollen specialists at early (brood present) or later (brood absent) stages in colony life. These results suggest that generalists can alter their foraging preferences in response to the loss of a small subset of foragers. Thus, bumble bees exhibit individual lifetime foraging preferences that are established early in life, but generalists may be able to adapt to colony needs.

  18. Influence of honey bee, Apis mellifera, hives and field size on foraging activity of native bee species in pumpkin fields.

    PubMed

    Artz, Derek R; Hsu, Cynthia L; Nault, Brian A

    2011-10-01

    The purpose of this study was to identify bee species active in pumpkin fields in New York and to estimate their potential as pollinators by examining their foraging activity. In addition, we examined whether foraging activity was affected by either the addition of hives of the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., or by field size. Thirty-five pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.) fields ranging from 0.6 to 26.3 ha, 12 supplemented with A. mellifera hives and 23 not supplemented, were sampled during peak flowering over three successive weeks in 2008 and 2009. Flowers from 300 plants per field were visually sampled for bees on each sampling date. A. mellifera, Bombus impatiens Cresson, and Peponapis pruinosa (Say) accounted for 99% of all bee visits to flowers. A. mellifera and B. impatiens visited significantly more pistillate flowers than would be expected by chance, whereas P. pruinosa showed no preference for visiting pistillate flowers. There were significantly more A. mellifera visits per flower in fields supplemented with A. mellifera hives than in fields not supplemented, but there were significantly fewer P. pruinosa visits in supplemented fields. The number of B. impatiens visits was not affected by supplementation, but was affected by number of flowers per field. A. mellifera and P. pruinosa visits were not affected by field size, but B. impatiens visited fewer flowers as field size increased in fields that were not supplemented with A. mellifera hives. Declining A. mellifera populations may increase the relative importance of B. impatiens in pollinating pumpkins in New York. PMID:22251726

  19. Hitting an Unintended Target: Phylogeography of Bombus brasiliensis Lepeletier, 1836 and the First New Brazilian Bumblebee Species in a Century (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

    PubMed Central

    Santos Júnior, José Eustáquio; Santos, Fabrício R.; Silveira, Fernando A.

    2015-01-01

    This work tested whether or not populations of Bombus brasiliensis isolated on mountain tops of southeastern Brazil belonged to the same species as populations widespread in lowland areas in the Atlantic coast and westward along the Paraná-river valley. Phylogeographic and population genetic analyses showed that those populations were all conspecific. However, they revealed a previously unrecognized, apparently rare, and potentially endangered species in one of the most threatened biodiversity hotspots of the World, the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. This species is described here as Bombus bahiensis sp. n., and included in a revised key for the identification of the bumblebee species known to occur in Brazil. Phylogenetic analyses based on two mtDNA markers suggest this new species to be sister to B. brasiliensis, from which its workers and queens can be easily distinguished by the lack of a yellow hair-band on the first metasomal tergum. The results presented here are consistent with the hypothesis that B. bahiensis sp. n. may have originated from an ancestral population isolated in an evergreen-forest refuge (the so-called Bahia refuge) during cold, dry periods of the Pleistocene. This refuge is also known as an important area of endemism for several animal taxa, including other bees. Secondary contact between B. bahiensis and B. brasiliensis may be presently prevented by a strip of semi-deciduous forest in a climate zone characterized by relatively long dry seasons. Considering the relatively limited range of this new species and the current anthropic pressure on its environment, attention should be given to its conservation status. PMID:25992624

  20. Male bumblebees, Bombus terrestris, perform equally well as workers in a serial colour-learning task

    PubMed Central

    Wolf, Stephan; Chittka, Lars

    2016-01-01

    The learning capacities of males and females may differ with sex-specific behavioural requirements. Bumblebees provide a useful model system to explore how different lifestyles are reflected in learning abilities, because their (female but sterile) workers and males engage in fundamentally different behaviour routines. Bumblebee males, like workers, embark on active flower foraging but in contrast to workers they have to trade off their feeding with mate search, potentially affecting their abilities to learn and utilize floral cues efficiently during foraging. We used a serial colour-learning task with freely flying males and workers to compare their ability to flexibly learn visual floral cues with reward in a foraging scenario that changed over time. Male bumblebees did not differ from workers in both their learning speed and their ability to overcome previously acquired associations, when these ceased to predict reward. In all foraging tasks we found a significant improvement in choice accuracy in both sexes over the course of the training. In both sexes, the characteristics of the foraging performance depended largely on the colour difference of the two presented feeder types. Large colour distances entailed fast and reliable learning of the rewarding feeders whereas choice accuracy on highly similar colours improved significantly more slowly. Conversely, switching from a learned feeder type to a novel one was fastest for similar feeder colours and slow for highly different ones. Overall, we show that behavioural sex dimorphism in bumblebees did not affect their learning abilities beyond the mating context. We discuss the possible drivers and limitations shaping the foraging abilities of males and workers and implications for pollination ecology. We also suggest stingless male bumblebees as an advantageous alternative model system for the study of pollinator cognition. PMID:26877542

  1. How floral odours are learned inside the bumblebee ( Bombus terrestris) nest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molet, Mathieu; Chittka, Lars; Raine, Nigel E.

    2009-02-01

    Recruitment in social insects often involves not only inducing nestmates to leave the nest, but also communicating crucial information about finding profitable food sources. Although bumblebees transmit chemosensory information (floral scent), the transmission mechanism is unknown as mouth-to-mouth fluid transfer (as in honeybees) does not occur. Because recruiting bumblebees release a pheromone in the nest that triggers foraging in previously inactive workers, we tested whether this pheromone helps workers learn currently rewarding floral odours, as found in food social learning in rats. We exposed colonies to artificial recruitment pheromone, paired with anise scent. The pheromone did not facilitate learning of floral scent. However, we found that releasing floral scent in the air of the colony was sufficient to trigger learning and that learning performance was improved when the chemosensory cue was provided in the nectar in honeypots; probably because it guarantees a tighter link between scent and reward, and possibly because gustatory cues are involved in addition to olfaction. Scent learning was maximal when anise-scented nectar was brought into the nest by demonstrator foragers, suggesting that previously unidentified cues provided by successful foragers play an important role in nestmates learning new floral odours.

  2. Deep Sequencing and Ecological Characterization of Gut Microbial Communities of Diverse Bumble Bee Species

    PubMed Central

    Lim, Haw Chuan; Chu, Chia-Ching; Seufferheld, Manfredo J.; Cameron, Sydney A.

    2015-01-01

    Gut bacterial communities of bumble bees are correlated with defense against pathogens. Further understanding this host-microbe association is vitally important as bumble bees are currently experiencing global population declines, potentially due in part to emergent diseases. In this study, we used pyrosequencing and community fingerprinting (ARISA) to characterize the gut microbial communities of nine bumble species from across the Bombus phylogeny. Overall, we delimited 74 bacterial taxa (operational taxonomic units or OTUs) belonging to Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacilli, Actinobacteria, Flavobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria. Each bacterial community was taxonomically simple, containing an average of 1.9 common (relative abundance per sample > 5%) bacterial OTUs. The most abundant and prevalent (occurring in 92% of the samples) bacterial OTU, based on 16S rRNA sequences, closely matched that of the previously described Betaproteobacteria species Snodgrassella alvi. Bacteria that were first described in bee-related external environments dominated a number of gut bacterial communities, suggesting that they are not strictly dependent on the internal gut environment. The ARISA data showed a correlation between bacterial community structures and the geographic locations where the bees were sampled, suggesting that at least a subset of the bacterial species may be transmitted environmentally. Using light and fluorescent microscopy, we demonstrated that the gut bacteria form a biofilm on the internal epithelial surface of the ileum, corroborating results obtained from Apis mellifera. PMID:25768110

  3. Honey Bee Viruses

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Viruses are significant threats to the health and well-being of the honey bee, Apis mellifera. To alleviate the threats posed by these invasive organisms, a better understanding of bee viral infections will be of crucial importance in developing effective and environmentally-benign disease control ...

  4. One World: Service Bees

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomason, Rhonda

    2009-01-01

    Bees are a vital part of the ecology. People of conscience are a vital part of society. In Nina Frenkel's "One World" poster, the bee is also a metaphor for the role of the individual in a diverse society. This article presents a lesson that uses Frenkel's poster to help early-grades students connect these ideas and explore both the importance of…

  5. Honey bee toxicology.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Reed M

    2015-01-01

    Insecticides are chemicals used to kill insects, so it is unsurprising that many insecticides have the potential to harm honey bees (Apis mellifera). However, bees are exposed to a great variety of other potentially toxic chemicals, including flavonoids and alkaloids that are produced by plants; mycotoxins produced by fungi; antimicrobials and acaricides that are introduced by beekeepers; and fungicides, herbicides, and other environmental contaminants. Although often regarded as uniquely sensitive to toxic compounds, honey bees are adapted to tolerate and even thrive in the presence of toxic compounds that occur naturally in their environment. The harm caused by exposure to a particular concentration of a toxic compound may depend on the level of simultaneous exposure to other compounds, pathogen levels, nutritional status, and a host of other factors. This review takes a holistic view of bee toxicology by taking into account the spectrum of xenobiotics to which bees are exposed. PMID:25341092

  6. Chronic Exposure of Imidacloprid and Clothianidin Reduce Queen Survival, Foraging, and Nectar Storing in Colonies of Bombus impatiens

    PubMed Central

    Scholer, Jamison; Krischik, Vera

    2014-01-01

    In an 11-week greenhouse study, caged queenright colonies of Bombus impatiens Cresson, were fed treatments of 0 (0 ppb actual residue I, imidacloprid; C, clothianidin), 10 (14 I, 9 C), 20 (16 I, 17C), 50 (71 I, 39 C) and 100 (127 I, 76 C) ppb imidacloprid or clothianidin in sugar syrup (50%). These treatments overlapped the residue levels found in pollen and nectar of many crops and landscape plants, which have higher residue levels than seed-treated crops (less than 10 ppb, corn, canola and sunflower). At 6 weeks, queen mortality was significantly higher in 50 ppb and 100 ppb and by 11 weeks in 20 ppb–100 ppb neonicotinyl-treated colonies. The largest impact for both neonicotinyls starting at 20 (16 I, 17 C) ppb was the statistically significant reduction in queen survival (37% I, 56% C) ppb, worker movement, colony consumption, and colony weight compared to 0 ppb treatments. Bees at feeders flew back to the nest box so it appears that only a few workers were collecting syrup in the flight box and returning the syrup to the nest. The majority of the workers sat immobilized for weeks on the floor of the flight box without moving to fed at sugar syrup feeders. Neonicotinyl residues were lower in wax pots in the nest than in the sugar syrup that was provided. At 10 (14) ppb I and 50 (39) ppb C, fewer males were produced by the workers, but queens continued to invest in queen production which was similar among treatments. Feeding on imidacloprid and clothianidin can cause changes in behavior (reduced worker movement, consumption, wax pot production, and nectar storage) that result in detrimental effects on colonies (queen survival and colony weight). Wild bumblebees depending on foraging workers can be negatively impacted by chronic neonicotinyl exposure at 20 ppb. PMID:24643057

  7. Variable effects of nicotine, anabasine, and their interactions on parasitized bumble bees

    PubMed Central

    Thorburn, Lukas P.; Adler, Lynn S.; Irwin, Rebecca E.; Palmer-Young, Evan C.

    2015-01-01

    Secondary metabolites in floral nectar have been shown to reduce parasite load in two common bumble bee species. Previous studies on the effects of nectar secondary metabolites on parasitized bees have focused on single compounds in isolation; however, in nature, bees are simultaneously exposed to multiple compounds. We tested for interactions between the effects of two alkaloids found in the nectar of Nicotiana spp. plants, nicotine and anabasine, on parasite load and mortality in bumble bees ( Bombus impatiens) infected with the intestinal parasite Crithidia bombi. Adult worker bees inoculated with C. bombi were fed nicotine and anabasine diet treatments in a factorial design, resulting in four nectar treatment combinations:  2 ppm nicotine, 5 ppm anabasine, 2ppm nicotine and 5 ppm anabasine together, or a control alkaloid-free solution. We conducted the experiment twice: first, with bees incubated under variable environmental conditions (‘Variable’; temperatures varied from 10-35°C with ambient lighting); and second, under carefully controlled environmental conditions (‘Stable’; 27°C incubator, constant darkness). In ‘Variable’, each alkaloid alone significantly decreased parasite loads, but this effect was not realized with the alkaloids in combination, suggesting an antagonistic interaction. Nicotine but not anabasine significantly increased mortality, and the two compounds had no interactive effects on mortality. In ‘Stable’, nicotine significantly increased parasite loads, the opposite of its effect in ‘Variable’. While not significant, the relationship between anabasine and parasite loads was also positive. Interactive effects between the two alkaloids on parasite load were non-significant, but the pattern of antagonistic interaction was similar to that in the variable experiment. Neither alkaloid, nor their interaction, significantly affected mortality under controlled conditions. Our results do not indicate synergy between Nicotiana

  8. Inorganic nitrogen derived from foraging honey bees could have adaptive benefits for the plants they visit.

    PubMed

    Mishra, Archana; Afik, Ohad; Cabrera, Miguel L; Delaplane, Keith S; Mowrer, Jason E

    2013-01-01

    In most terrestrial ecosystems, nitrogen (N) is the most limiting nutrient for plant growth. Honey bees may help alleviate this limitation because their feces (frass) have high concentration of organic nitrogen that may decompose in soil and provide inorganic N to plants. However, information on soil N processes associated with bee frass is not available. The objectives of this work were to 1) estimate the amount of bee frass produced by a honey bee colony and 2) evaluate nitrogen mineralization and ammonia volatilization from bee frass when surface applied or incorporated into soil. Two cage studies were conducted to estimate the amount of frass produced by a 5000-bee colony, and three laboratory studies were carried out in which bee frass, surface-applied or incorporated into soil, was incubated at 25(o)C for 15 to 45 days. The average rate of bee frass production by a 5,000-bee colony was estimated at 2.27 to 2.69 g N month(-1). Nitrogen mineralization from bee frass during 30 days released 20% of the organic N when bee frass was surface applied and 34% when frass was incorporated into the soil. Volatilized NH3 corresponded to 1% or less of total N. The potential amount of inorganic N released to the soil by a typical colony of 20,000 bees foraging in an area similar to that of the experimental cages (3.24 m(2)) was estimated at 0.62 to 0.74 g N m(-2) month(-1) which may be significant at a community scale in terms of soil microbial activity and plant growth. Thus, the deposition of available N by foraging bees could have adaptive benefits for the plants they visit, a collateral benefit deriving from the primary activity of pollination. PMID:23923006

  9. Inorganic Nitrogen Derived from Foraging Honey Bees Could Have Adaptive Benefits for the Plants They Visit

    PubMed Central

    Mishra, Archana; Afik, Ohad; Cabrera, Miguel L.; Delaplane, Keith S.; Mowrer, Jason E.

    2013-01-01

    In most terrestrial ecosystems, nitrogen (N) is the most limiting nutrient for plant growth. Honey bees may help alleviate this limitation because their feces (frass) have high concentration of organic nitrogen that may decompose in soil and provide inorganic N to plants. However, information on soil N processes associated with bee frass is not available. The objectives of this work were to 1) estimate the amount of bee frass produced by a honey bee colony and 2) evaluate nitrogen mineralization and ammonia volatilization from bee frass when surface applied or incorporated into soil. Two cage studies were conducted to estimate the amount of frass produced by a 5000-bee colony, and three laboratory studies were carried out in which bee frass, surface-applied or incorporated into soil, was incubated at 25oC for 15 to 45 days. The average rate of bee frass production by a 5,000-bee colony was estimated at 2.27 to 2.69 g N month−1. Nitrogen mineralization from bee frass during 30 days released 20% of the organic N when bee frass was surface applied and 34% when frass was incorporated into the soil. Volatilized NH3 corresponded to 1% or less of total N. The potential amount of inorganic N released to the soil by a typical colony of 20,000 bees foraging in an area similar to that of the experimental cages (3.24 m2) was estimated at 0.62 to 0.74 g N m−2 month−1 which may be significant at a community scale in terms of soil microbial activity and plant growth. Thus, the deposition of available N by foraging bees could have adaptive benefits for the plants they visit, a collateral benefit deriving from the primary activity of pollination. PMID:23923006

  10. The innate responses of bumble bees to flower patterns: separating the nectar guide from the nectary changes bee movements and search time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodale, Eben; Kim, Edward; Nabors, Annika; Henrichon, Sara; Nieh, James C.

    2014-06-01

    Nectar guides can enhance pollinator efficiency and plant fitness by allowing pollinators to more rapidly find and remember the location of floral nectar. We tested if a radiating nectar guide around a nectary would enhance the ability of naïve bumble bee foragers to find nectar. Most experiments that test nectar guide efficacy, specifically radiating linear guides, have used guides positioned around the center of a radially symmetric flower, where nectaries are often found. However, the flower center may be intrinsically attractive. We therefore used an off-center guide and nectary and compared "conjunct" feeders with a nectar guide surrounding the nectary to "disjunct" feeders with a nectar guide separated from the nectary. We focused on the innate response of novice bee foragers that had never previously visited such feeders. We hypothesized that a disjunct nectar guide would conflict with the visual information provided by the nectary and negatively affect foraging. Approximately, equal numbers of bumble bees ( Bombus impatiens) found nectar on both feeder types. On disjunct feeders, however, unsuccessful foragers spent significantly more time (on average 1.6-fold longer) searching for nectar than any other forager group. Successful foragers on disjunct feeders approached these feeders from random directions unlike successful foragers on conjunct feeders, which preferentially approached the combined nectary and nectar guide. Thus, the nectary and a surrounding nectar guide can be considered a combination of two signals that attract naïve foragers even when not in the floral center.

  11. Queen pheromones modulate DNA methyltransferase activity in bee and ant workers.

    PubMed

    Holman, Luke; Trontti, Kalevi; Helanterä, Heikki

    2016-01-01

    DNA methylation is emerging as an important regulator of polyphenism in the social insects. Research has concentrated on differences in methylation between queens and workers, though we hypothesized that methylation is involved in mediating other flexible phenotypes, including pheromone-dependent changes in worker behaviour and physiology. Here, we find that exposure to queen pheromone affects the expression of two DNA methyltransferase genes in Apis mellifera honeybees and in two species of Lasius ants, but not in Bombus terrestris bumblebees. These results suggest that queen pheromones influence the worker methylome, pointing to a novel proximate mechanism for these key social signals. PMID:26814223

  12. The bumblebees of North China (Apidae, Bombus Latreille).

    PubMed

    An, Jiandong; Huang, Jiaxing; Shao, Youquan; Zhang, Shiwen; Wang, Biao; Liu, Xinyu; Wu, Jie; Williams, Paul H

    2014-01-01

    Bumblebees are important pollinators for wild flowers and agricultural crops. North China is a region of varied geomorphology and vegetation, with plateaus, plains, mountains and deserts, and is part of the greatest hotspot of bumblebee diversity worldwide. We report on a field survey of the bumblebees of North China made between 2005-2012. A sample of 21,636 bumblebee specimens are assigned to 76 species. One older specimen held in London added one more species to this list. Together, these 77 species represent 10 subgenera of the genus Bombus. Seven species are recorded from North China for the first time: B. (St.) distinguendus, B. (Th.) anachoreta, B. (Th.) pseudobaicalensis, B. (Th.) exil, B. (Ps.) campestris, B. (Pr.) infirmus and B. (Ag.) validus. We provide identification keys for both males and females, photographs of the common colour patterns, and distribution maps for all species. We describe variation in local species richness and abundance, and list the food plants used by bumblebees in North China. The most abundant 10 bumblebee species are: B. (Ml.) pyrosoma, B. (Bo.) lantschouensis, B. (Bo.) patagiatus, B. (St.) melanurus, B. (Sb.) sibiricus, B. (Bo.) ignitus, B. (Th.) hedini, B. (Pr.) picipes, B. (Mg.) trifasciatus and B. (Mg.) longipes. Bumblebees are distributed widely within North China, from low elevations near the edge of the North-China plain to high elevations at the edge of the east Qinghai-Tibetan plateau (65-4011 m). The highest species richness is found in meadows of the high elevation east Qinghai-Tibetan plateau and in forests of the Qilianshan mountains in southwestern Gansu. The 337 food plant species recorded here belong to 49 families, showing that bumblebees play an important role in interconnecting agricultural and natural ecosystems in North China.  PMID:25081273

  13. [Poisoning by bee sting].

    PubMed

    de Roodt, Adolfo R; Salomón, Oscar D; Orduna, Tomás A; Robles Ortiz, Luis E; Paniagua Solís, Jorge F; Alagón Cano, Alejandro

    2005-01-01

    Among the human pathologies produced by venomous animals, bee stings constitute the largest number of accidents in several countries, exceeding the mortality rate caused by other venomous animals such as snakes, spiders or scorpions. The clinical picture after the bee sting may include anaphylaxis or poisoning. The latter is produced by massive attacks and is a serious problem that may put the patient's life at risk. People that are poisoned display hemolysis, rhabdomiolysis and acute renal failure that together with other systemic failures can bring about death. The knowledge of the physiopathological mechanisms involved in the massive attack of bees is crucial for health care professionals as to date we do not have antivenoms with proven clinical efficacy. In this review we include the bee's biological aspects, venom composition and its relation with the occurrence and severity of accidents as well as epidemiological data that can be useful for this type of accidents. PMID:16025987

  14. A Buzzing Bee.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Donovan, Edward P.; Barnes, Eb

    1996-01-01

    Presents an activity enabling students of grades four to nine to construct a "Buzzing Bee" model using simple materials. Provides students with the opportunity to explore the concepts of sound and the Doppler effect. (MKR)

  15. Terrestrial sequestration

    ScienceCinema

    Charlie Byrer

    2010-01-08

    Terrestrial sequestration is the enhancement of CO2 uptake by plants that grow on land and in freshwater and, importantly, the enhancement of carbon storage in soils where it may remain more permanently stored. Terrestrial sequestration provides an opportunity for low-cost CO2 emissions offsets.

  16. Terrestrial sequestration

    SciTech Connect

    Charlie Byrer

    2008-03-10

    Terrestrial sequestration is the enhancement of CO2 uptake by plants that grow on land and in freshwater and, importantly, the enhancement of carbon storage in soils where it may remain more permanently stored. Terrestrial sequestration provides an opportunity for low-cost CO2 emissions offsets.

  17. Habitat and forage associations of a naturally colonising insect pollinator, the tree bumblebee Bombus hypnorum.

    PubMed

    Crowther, Liam P; Hein, Pierre-Louis; Bourke, Andrew F G

    2014-01-01

    Bumblebees (Bombus species) are major pollinators of commercial crops and wildflowers but factors affecting their abundance, including causes of recent population declines, remain unclear. Investigating the ecology of species with expanding ranges provides a potentially powerful means of elucidating these factors. Such species may also bring novel pollination services to their new ranges. We therefore investigated landscape-scale habitat use and foraging preferences of the Tree Bumblebee, B. hypnorum, a recent natural colonist that has rapidly expanded its range in the UK over the past decade. Counts of B. hypnorum and six other Bombus species were made in March-June 2012 within a mixed landscape in south-eastern Norfolk, UK. The extent of different landscape elements around each transect was quantified at three scales (250 m, 500 m and 1500 m). We then identified the landscape elements that best predicted the density of B. hypnorum and other Bombus species. At the best fitting scale (250 m), B. hypnorum density was significantly positively associated with extent of both urban and woodland cover and significantly negatively associated with extent of oilseed rape cover. This combination of landscape predictors was unique to B. hypnorum. Urban and woodland cover were associated with B. hypnorum density at three and two, respectively, of the three scales studied. Relative to other Bombus species, B. hypnorum exhibited a significantly higher foraging preference for two flowering trees, Crataegus monogyna and Prunus spinosa, and significantly lower preferences for Brassica napus, Glechoma hederacea and Lamium album. Our study provides novel, quantitative support for an association of B. hypnorum with urban and woodland landscape elements. Range expansion in B. hypnorum appears to depend, on exploitation of widespread habitats underutilised by native Bombus species, suggesting B. hypnorum will readily co-exist with these species. These findings suggest that management

  18. Habitat and Forage Associations of a Naturally Colonising Insect Pollinator, the Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum

    PubMed Central

    Crowther, Liam P.; Hein, Pierre-Louis; Bourke, Andrew F. G.

    2014-01-01

    Bumblebees (Bombus species) are major pollinators of commercial crops and wildflowers but factors affecting their abundance, including causes of recent population declines, remain unclear. Investigating the ecology of species with expanding ranges provides a potentially powerful means of elucidating these factors. Such species may also bring novel pollination services to their new ranges. We therefore investigated landscape-scale habitat use and foraging preferences of the Tree Bumblebee, B. hypnorum, a recent natural colonist that has rapidly expanded its range in the UK over the past decade. Counts of B. hypnorum and six other Bombus species were made in March-June 2012 within a mixed landscape in south-eastern Norfolk, UK. The extent of different landscape elements around each transect was quantified at three scales (250 m, 500 m and 1500 m). We then identified the landscape elements that best predicted the density of B. hypnorum and other Bombus species. At the best fitting scale (250 m), B. hypnorum density was significantly positively associated with extent of both urban and woodland cover and significantly negatively associated with extent of oilseed rape cover. This combination of landscape predictors was unique to B. hypnorum. Urban and woodland cover were associated with B. hypnorum density at three and two, respectively, of the three scales studied. Relative to other Bombus species, B. hypnorum exhibited a significantly higher foraging preference for two flowering trees, Crataegus monogyna and Prunus spinosa, and significantly lower preferences for Brassica napus, Glechoma hederacea and Lamium album. Our study provides novel, quantitative support for an association of B. hypnorum with urban and woodland landscape elements. Range expansion in B. hypnorum appears to depend, on exploitation of widespread habitats underutilised by native Bombus species, suggesting B. hypnorum will readily co-exist with these species. These findings suggest that management

  19. Magnetic effect on dancing bees

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lindauer, M.; Martin, H.

    1972-01-01

    Bee sensitivity to the earth's magnetic field is studied. Data cover sensitivity range and the use of magnetoreception for orientation purposes. Experimental results indicate bee orientation is aided by gravity fields when the magnetic field is compensated.

  20. Water homeostasis in bees, with the emphasis on sociality.

    PubMed

    Nicolson, Susan W

    2009-02-01

    Avenues of water gain and loss in bees are examined here at two levels of organisation: the individual and the colony. Compared with the majority of terrestrial insects, bees have a high water turnover. This is due to their nectar diet and, in larger species, substantial metabolic water production during flight, counteracted by high evaporative and excretory losses. Water fluxes at the colony level can also be very high. When incoming nectar is dilute, honeybees need to remove large volumes of water by evaporation. On the other hand, water is not stored in the nest and must be collected for evaporative cooling and for feeding the brood. Water regulation has many similarities at individual and colony levels. In particular, manipulation of nectar or water on the tongue is extensively used by bees to increase evaporation for either food-concentrating or cooling purposes. PMID:19151218

  1. Genomic Features of a Bumble Bee Symbiont Reflect Its Host Environment

    PubMed Central

    Magoc, Tanja; Koch, Hauke; Salzberg, Steven L.; Moran, Nancy A.

    2014-01-01

    Here, we report the genome of one gammaproteobacterial member of the gut microbiota, for which we propose the name “Candidatus Schmidhempelia bombi,” that was inadvertently sequenced alongside the genome of its host, the bumble bee, Bombus impatiens. This symbiont is a member of the recently described bacterial order Orbales, which has been collected from the guts of diverse insect species; however, “Ca. Schmidhempelia” has been identified exclusively with bumble bees. Metabolic reconstruction reveals that “Ca. Schmidhempelia” lacks many genes for a functioning NADH dehydrogenase I, all genes for the high-oxygen cytochrome o, and most genes in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. “Ca. Schmidhempelia” has retained NADH dehydrogenase II, the low-oxygen specific cytochrome bd, anaerobic nitrate respiration, mixed-acid fermentation pathways, and citrate fermentation, which may be important for survival in low-oxygen or anaerobic environments found in the bee hindgut. Additionally, a type 6 secretion system, a Flp pilus, and many antibiotic/multidrug transporters suggest complex interactions with its host and other gut commensals or pathogens. This genome has signatures of reduction (2.0 megabase pairs) and rearrangement, as previously observed for genomes of host-associated bacteria. A survey of wild and laboratory B. impatiens revealed that “Ca. Schmidhempelia” is present in 90% of individuals and, therefore, may provide benefits to its host. PMID:24747890

  2. Test of the invasive pathogen hypothesis of bumble bee decline in North America.

    PubMed

    Cameron, Sydney A; Lim, Haw Chuan; Lozier, Jeffrey D; Duennes, Michelle A; Thorp, Robbin

    2016-04-19

    Emergent fungal diseases are critical factors in global biodiversity declines. The fungal pathogenNosema bombiwas recently found to be widespread in declining species of North American bumble bees (Bombus), with circumstantial evidence suggesting an exotic introduction from Europe. This interpretation has been hampered by a lack of knowledge of global genetic variation, geographic origin, and changing prevalence patterns ofN. bombiin declining North American populations. Thus, the temporal and spatial emergence ofN. bombiand its potential role in bumble bee decline remain speculative. We analyzeNosemaprevalence and genetic variation in the United States and Europe from 1980, before an alleged introduction in the early 1990s, to 2011, extractingNosemaDNA fromBombusnatural history collection specimens from across this time period.Nosema bombiprevalence increased significantly from low detectable frequency in the 1980s to significantly higher frequency in the mid- to late-1990s, corresponding to a period of reported massive infectious outbreak ofN. bombiin commercial bumble bee rearing stocks in North America. Despite the increased frequency, we find no conclusive evidence of an exoticN. bombiorigin based on genetic analysis of globalNosemapopulations; the widespreadNosemastrain found currently in declining United States bumble bees was present in the United States before commercial colony trade. Notably, the USN. bombiis not detectably different from that found predominantly throughout Western Europe, with both regions characterized by low genetic diversity compared with high levels of diversity found in Asia, where commercial bee breeding activities are low or nonexistent. PMID:27044096

  3. Chalkbrood disease in honey bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Chalkbrood is an invasive mycosis in honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) produced by Ascosphaera apis (Maassen ex Claussen) Olive and Spiltoir (Spiltoir, 1955) that exclusively affects bee brood. Although fatal to individual larvae, the disease does not usually destroy an entire bee colony. However, it c...

  4. Bee Line BR-1 Racer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1926-01-01

    Bee Line BR-1 Racer: The Bee Line BR-1 was a racing aircraft used to compete in the 1922 Pulitzer Air Race. The aircraft and its sister ship, the Bee Line BR-2, came to Langley and the NACA in 1926. The BR-1 is shown in the NACA hangar at Langley Field in early 1926.

  5. Honey Bees, Satellites and Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esaias, W.

    2008-05-01

    Life isn't what it used to be for honey bees in Maryland. The latest changes in their world are discussed by NASA scientist Wayne Esaias, a biological oceanographer with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. At Goddard, Esaias has examined the role of marine productivity in the global carbon cycle using visible satellite sensors. In his personal life, Esaias is a beekeeper. Lately, he has begun melding his interest in bees with his professional expertise in global climate change. Esaias has observed that the period when nectar is available in central Maryland has shifted by one month due to local climate change. He is interested in bringing the power of global satellite observations and models to bear on the important but difficult question of how climate change will impact bees and pollination. Pollination is a complex, ephemeral interaction of animals and plants with ramifications throughout terrestrial ecosystems well beyond the individual species directly involved. Pollinators have been shown to be in decline in many regions, and the nature and degree of further impacts on this key interaction due to climate change are very much open questions. Honey bee colonies are used to quantify the time of occurrence of the major interaction by monitoring their weight change. During the peak period, changes of 5-15 kg/day per colony represent an integrated response covering thousands of hectares. Volunteer observations provide a robust metric for looking at spatial and inter-annual variations due to short term climate events, complementing plant phenology networks and satellite-derived vegetation phenology data. In central Maryland, the nectar flows are advancing by about -0.6 d/y, based on a 15 yr time series and a small regional study. This is comparable to the regional advancement in the spring green-up observed with MODIS and AVHRR. The ability to link satellite vegetation phenology to honey bee forage using hive weight changes provides a basis for applying satellite

  6. Flight control and landing precision in the nocturnal bee Megalopta is robust to large changes in light intensity.

    PubMed

    Baird, Emily; Fernandez, Diana C; Wcislo, William T; Warrant, Eric J

    2015-01-01

    Like their diurnal relatives, Megalopta genalis use visual information to control flight. Unlike their diurnal relatives, however, they do this at extremely low light intensities. Although Megalopta has developed optical specializations to increase visual sensitivity, theoretical studies suggest that this enhanced sensitivity does not enable them to capture enough light to use visual information to reliably control flight in the rainforest at night. It has been proposed that Megalopta gain extra sensitivity by summing visual information over time. While enhancing the reliability of vision, this strategy would decrease the accuracy with which they can detect image motion-a crucial cue for flight control. Here, we test this temporal summation hypothesis by investigating how Megalopta's flight control and landing precision is affected by light intensity and compare our findings with the results of similar experiments performed on the diurnal bumblebee Bombus terrestris, to explore the extent to which Megalopta's adaptations to dim light affect their precision. We find that, unlike Bombus, light intensity does not affect flight and landing precision in Megalopta. Overall, we find little evidence that Megalopta uses a temporal summation strategy in dim light, while we find strong support for the use of this strategy in Bombus. PMID:26578977

  7. Flight control and landing precision in the nocturnal bee Megalopta is robust to large changes in light intensity

    PubMed Central

    Baird, Emily; Fernandez, Diana C.; Wcislo, William T.; Warrant, Eric J.

    2015-01-01

    Like their diurnal relatives, Megalopta genalis use visual information to control flight. Unlike their diurnal relatives, however, they do this at extremely low light intensities. Although Megalopta has developed optical specializations to increase visual sensitivity, theoretical studies suggest that this enhanced sensitivity does not enable them to capture enough light to use visual information to reliably control flight in the rainforest at night. It has been proposed that Megalopta gain extra sensitivity by summing visual information over time. While enhancing the reliability of vision, this strategy would decrease the accuracy with which they can detect image motion—a crucial cue for flight control. Here, we test this temporal summation hypothesis by investigating how Megalopta's flight control and landing precision is affected by light intensity and compare our findings with the results of similar experiments performed on the diurnal bumblebee Bombus terrestris, to explore the extent to which Megalopta's adaptations to dim light affect their precision. We find that, unlike Bombus, light intensity does not affect flight and landing precision in Megalopta. Overall, we find little evidence that Megalopta uses a temporal summation strategy in dim light, while we find strong support for the use of this strategy in Bombus. PMID:26578977

  8. Identification of candidate agents active against N. ceranae infection in honey bees: establishment of a medium throughput screening assay based on N. ceranae infected cultured cells.

    PubMed

    Gisder, Sebastian; Genersch, Elke

    2015-01-01

    Many flowering plants in both natural ecosytems and agriculture are dependent on insect pollination for fruit set and seed production. Managed honey bees (Apis mellifera) and wild bees are key pollinators providing this indispensable eco- and agrosystem service. Like all other organisms, bees are attacked by numerous pathogens and parasites. Nosema apis is a honey bee pathogenic microsporidium which is widely distributed in honey bee populations without causing much harm. Its congener Nosema ceranae was originally described as pathogen of the Eastern honey bee (Apis cerana) but jumped host from A. cerana to A. mellifera about 20 years ago and spilled over from A. mellifera to Bombus spp. quite recently. N. ceranae is now considered a deadly emerging parasite of both Western honey bees and bumblebees. Hence, novel and sustainable treatment strategies against N. ceranae are urgently needed to protect honey and wild bees. We here present the development of an in vitro medium throughput screening assay for the identification of candidate agents active against N. ceranae infections. This novel assay is based on our recently developed cell culture model for N. ceranae and coupled with an RT-PCR-ELISA protocol for quantification of N. ceranae in infected cells. The assay has been adapted to the 96-well microplate format to allow automated analysis. Several substances with known (fumagillin) or presumed (surfactin) or no (paromomycin) activity against N. ceranae were tested as well as substances for which no data concerning N. ceranae inhibition existed. While fumagillin and two nitroimidazoles (metronidazole, tinidazole) totally inhibited N. ceranae proliferation, all other test substances were inactive. In summary, the assay proved suitable for substance screening and demonstrated the activity of two synthetic antibiotics against N. ceranae. PMID:25658121

  9. Identification of Candidate Agents Active against N. ceranae Infection in Honey Bees: Establishment of a Medium Throughput Screening Assay Based on N. ceranae Infected Cultured Cells

    PubMed Central

    Gisder, Sebastian; Genersch, Elke

    2015-01-01

    Many flowering plants in both natural ecosytems and agriculture are dependent on insect pollination for fruit set and seed production. Managed honey bees (Apis mellifera) and wild bees are key pollinators providing this indispensable eco- and agrosystem service. Like all other organisms, bees are attacked by numerous pathogens and parasites. Nosema apis is a honey bee pathogenic microsporidium which is widely distributed in honey bee populations without causing much harm. Its congener Nosema ceranae was originally described as pathogen of the Eastern honey bee (Apis cerana) but jumped host from A. cerana to A. mellifera about 20 years ago and spilled over from A. mellifera to Bombus spp. quite recently. N. ceranae is now considered a deadly emerging parasite of both Western honey bees and bumblebees. Hence, novel and sustainable treatment strategies against N. ceranae are urgently needed to protect honey and wild bees. We here present the development of an in vitro medium throughput screening assay for the identification of candidate agents active against N. ceranae infections. This novel assay is based on our recently developed cell culture model for N. ceranae and coupled with an RT-PCR-ELISA protocol for quantification of N. ceranae in infected cells. The assay has been adapted to the 96-well microplate format to allow automated analysis. Several substances with known (fumagillin) or presumed (surfactin) or no (paromomycin) activity against N. ceranae were tested as well as substances for which no data concerning N. ceranae inhibition existed. While fumagillin and two nitroimidazoles (metronidazole, tinidazole) totally inhibited N. ceranae proliferation, all other test substances were inactive. In summary, the assay proved suitable for substance screening and demonstrated the activity of two synthetic antibiotics against N. ceranae. PMID:25658121

  10. Bee Pollination in Agricultural Eco-Systems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    For many agricultural crops, bees play a vital role as pollinators, and this book discusses the interplay between bees, agriculture and the environment. Although honey bees are well recognized as pollinators, managed bumble bees and solitary bees are also critical for the successful pollination of c...