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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Research Project #441548

Research Project: Blue Orchard Bee (BOB) Response to Climate Change in Orchard Crops

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Project Number: 2080-21000-019-044-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 16, 2022
End Date: Feb 29, 2024

Objective 1: Determine whether the regional source of the blue orchard bee (BOB) population determine the rates of nest establishment and reproduction in non-native climates and bloom times. Objective 2: Determine whether the source of a BOB population affects the ability of the progeny to adapt to a new environment as shown through adult emergence timing and increased reproduction (compared to an original source population). Objective 3: Determine whether the source of a BOB population affect almond pollination efficacy in new environmental conditions, whether populations adapt to new conditions over generations, and whether efficacy is also affected.

Blue Orchard Bee (BOB) populations (P0) from Calfornia, Utah, and Washington, will be purchased and deployed as pollinators in separate almond orchard sections in Year 1. Bee nesting and reproductive success will be assessed with x-radiography, and almond fruit set and yield will be evaluated through counts and collections for designated trees where BOBs were present. Most (BOB) progeny (P1) will be monitored through development in the laboratory in Utah, while some will remain in CA at ambient temperatures to determine survival. In Year 2, lab-reared P1 progeny as well as new stocks of regionally distinct populations will be placed in separate orchards. Bee reproduction and nut production will be assessed as in Year 1. In Year 3, the details are the same as Year 2 except that the progeny released in the almonds will be the offspring (P2) of P1 as well as new stocks from the three regions. In Years 2 & 3, 2 field days and 1 workshop/meeting will be performed to educate stakeholders about BOBs and their management.