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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Research Project #442075

Research Project: Enhancing and Protecting Populations of Alfalfa Seed Pollinators

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Project Number: 2080-21000-019-050-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2022
End Date: Apr 30, 2023

Objective:
1. Use Thermal imagery technology to quantify foraging behavior in general and compare behaviors exhibited by bees exposed to sulfoxaflor compared to unexposed bees. 2. Conduct topical direct contact bioassays with candidate acaricides on ALCB and AB. 3. Conduct an annual census of the alkali bee population abundance in Walla Walla County, WA. 4. Collect alkali bees, ALCB, and Agapostemon spp adults, larva, and pupae for analysis of the various pathogens that may be shared among these bee species.

Approach:
1. Use thermal image technology to quantify foraging behavior in general and compare behaviors exhibited by bees exposed to sulfoxaflor compared to unexposed bees. In 2021 an Associate Professor of Agricultural Engineering and his staff at WSU will provide the technical expertise to fabricate the thermal imaging gadgets. These will be placed in domiciles during the peak of ALCB flight and foraging periods. They will be programmed to snap a set picture of bee boards every 15 seconds and the data will be downloaded onto small portable solar-powered blackberry pie computers that that will use HDMI cards as their storage devices. The data will be downloaded, and an algorithm will be drafted that will count and calculate bee activity on and in the bee board. Objective 2. Conduct topical direct contact bioassays with candidate pesticides on ALCB and AB. Candidate acaricides will be applied with a R&D CO2 sprayer at 26 gal/A using a hand boom. Products will be applied to 0.01-acre plots of alfalfa being produced for seed in the Lowden alfalfa seed-growing district. Field-weathered residual test exposures will be replicated 5 times per candidate acaricides at 4 time intervals (1 hour, 8 hours, 1 day, and 1 week) after the insecticides are applied. Samples consisting of approximately 400 cm of foliage will be taken from the upper 15 cm of the plants, clipped to 1-inch lengths, and placed into individual plastic Petri dish (15 cm diameter) replicates, the tops and bottoms of which are separated by a wire screen (6.7 meshes/cm) insert (45 cm long and 5 cm wide). Extant ALCB and AB will be collected by hand from alfalfa fields grown for seed by butterfly net on AB beds or at the entrance of ALCB domiciles. The bees will be tranquilized with CO2 and put in the Petri dish bioassay cage. Bees in cages will be held at 75°F for 8 hrs and mortality counts will be assessed. This data will be reported at WASGA in January 2022. Objective 3. Conduct an annual census of the alkali bee population abundance in Walla Walla County, WA. We have been completing an annual census of the abundance of alkali bees in Walla Walla County using the quadrat method developed by Cane and validated by Vinchesi and Walsh for over 15 years. Collect alkali bees, ALCB, honeybees, and Agapostemon spp adults, larva, and pupae for analysis of the various pathogens that may be shared among these bee species. In 2022 we will collect larva, pupae, and adults of alkali bees, ALCB, honetbees and Agapostemon, spp. In and near fields of alfalfa produced for seed and overnight ship these specimens to Justin Clements at the University of Idaho for DNA extraction and molecular analysis. This methodology is detailed in his APRI proposal.