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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Substrates and Materials Used for Nesting by North American Osmia bees (Apiformes: Megachilidae)

Authors
item Cane, James
item Griswold, Terry
item Parker, Frank - UNAFFILIATED, LOGAN,UT

Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2007
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Citation: Cane, J.H., Griswold, T.L., Parker, F.D. 2007. Substrates and Materials Used for Nesting by North American Osmia bees (Apiformes: Megachilidae). Annuals of the Entomological Society of America. 100(3):350-358(9)

Interpretive Summary: Nesting substrates and construction materials are compared for 65 of North America’s 139 described native species of Osmia bees. Most accounts report them nesting in pre-existing cavities in dead wood or pithy stems, with cell partitions and plugs made from a pulp of finely chewed leaf tissue. Mud is widely used by species constructing free-form clumps of nest cells against stone surfaces. Some Osmia adopt abandoned nests of mud dauber wasps and larger ground-nesting bees. Reports of subterranean nesting by Osmia species are uncommon, but the habit is probably more widespread. Knowledge of nesting habits of native bees can guide research choices for which effective crop pollinators should be considered for population management.

Technical Abstract: Nesting substrates and construction materials are compared for 65 of North America’s 139 described native species of Osmia bees. Most accounts report them nesting in pre-existing cavities in dead wood or pithy stems such as elderberry, with cell partitions and plugs made from a pulp of finely masticated leaf tissue. Mud is widely used by species constructing free-form clumps of nest cells against stone surfaces. Some Osmia adopt abandoned nests of other Hymenoptera, particularly those of mud dauber wasps (Sceliphron spp.) and larger ground-nesting bees (e.g. Anthophora spp.). Reports of subterranean nesting by Osmia species are uncommon, but probably under-represent the habit, because their subterranean nests are obscure and likely to be scattered. Ground- or surface-nesting habits are suspected for many of those species that are absent from intensive trap-nesting programs in their native ranges, but that otherwise have been taken commonly at flowers.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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