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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of Improved Management Systems for Pollinators, Alfalfa Leafcutter Bee, Megachile Rotundata and Blue Orchard Bee, Osmia Lignaria

Location: Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Improve the husbandry of M. rotundata and O. lignaria by; (1) isolating and characterizing sublethal wounding induced by low-temperature storage; (2) develop quality control biomarkers based on the characterized sublethal wounds to improve storage protocols thereby increasing the availability and quality of these pollinators.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
M. rotundata and O. lignaria will be exposed to low-temperature storage for varying durations after which flight metabolism and critical pO2 values will be determined and compared against control values. The following developmental stages will be examined during this investigation; eye pigmented pupae and ready-to-emerge adults of M. rotundata and the overwintering stages of both M. rotundata and O. lignaria. If flight metabolism or critical pO2 values are significantly different from the controls they will be incorporated into the post-storage screening of stored bees to measure their post-storage quality. The components of low-temperature protocol, such as the base storage temperature, the temperature of the high-temperature pulse, the pulse duration and frequency and atmospheric gas mixture will be optimized to improve post-storage availability and quality of the bees.


3.Progress Report:

The object of this cooperative research project is to improve the husbandry of M. rotundata and O. lignaria by; (1) isolating and characterizing sublethal wounding induced by low-temperature storage; (2) develop quality control biomarkers based on the characterized sublethal wounds to improve storage protocols thereby increasing the availability and quality of these pollinators. M. rotundata and O. lignaria will be exposed to low-temperature storage for varying durations after which flight metabolism and critical pO2 values will be determined and compared against control values. The following developmental stages will be examined during this investigation; eye pigmented pupae and ready-to-emerge adults of M. rotundata and the overwintering stages of both M. rotundata and O. lignaria. If flight metabolism or critical pO2 values are significantly different from the controls they will be incorporated into the post-storage screening of stored bees to measure their post-storage quality.

In this reporting period we exposed developing pupae of M. rotundata to short low-temperature storage, then measured the flight metabolism of the resulting adults. Adults exposed to 6°C for 1 week had an increased cost of flight indicating that exposure to 6°C during development resulted in decreased pollinator quality. The conclusion of this research is that flight metabolism can be used as a biomarker for optimizing development of storage protocols for M. rotundata.


Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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