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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Research Project #434085

Research Project: Management Implications of Regionally-Distinct Populations of the Blue Orchard Bee

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Project Number: 2080-21000-017-15-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 1, 2017
End Date: Jan 31, 2020

1. Determine the variation in developmental phenology of regional populations of blue orchard bees (BOBs) by maintaining regionally-specific bees under managed or unmanaged conditions. 2. Determine the heritability of regional phenology traits for BOBs from California and Utah by examining population crosses in controlled experiments. 3. Determine the difference in the retention of females between California and Utah BOBs used as pollinators in regions outside of their geographic origin by examining the dispersal and flight range of these populations in cherry orchards in regionally distinct environments. 4. Deliver high quality educational products and training on BOBs through extension and outreach to maximize information sharing and adoption of new technologies.

Wild-trapped BOB nests from California, Utah, and Washington State will be shipped to Logan, UT. Nest cells will be divided into 2 groups from each of the 3 sources so that 200 cells represent each region and treatment. For the “unmanaged” treatment, cells will be held in growth chambers programmed to mimic temperature cycles of the climates of their origin. For the “managed” treatment, cells will be kept at a constant 26°C. Each cell will be visually inspected daily to record developmental stages. Once cocooned, bees will be x-rayed to record pupal and adult stages. 30 days after reaching adult stage, managed bees will be managed for wintering. Unmanaged bees will remain at fluctuating temperatures. In March/April, half of adults from each treatment will be incubated at 22ºC, and the other will remain unmanaged to emerge naturally. The length of each developmental stage, time to emergence, duration of emergence period, and adult weight for each group will be measured. Mortality also will be recorded. Generalized linear mixed models will be performed look for the effects of native region and treatment on 1) developmental parameters for immature and adult bees, and 2) parameters for adult survival and duration of emergence period.