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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346077

Research Project: Managing and Conserving Diverse Bee Pollinators for Sustainable Crop Production and Wildland Preservation

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Title: A nonlethal method to examine non-Apis bees for mark-capture research

Author
item Boyle, Natalie
item Tripodi, Amber
item Machtley, Scott
item Pitts Singer, Theresa
item Strange, James
item Hagler, James

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/23/2018
Publication Date: 5/2/2018
Citation: Boyle, N.K., Tripodi, A.D., Machtley, S.A., Pitts-Singer, T., Strange, J.P., Hagler, J.R. 2018. A nonlethal method to examine non-Apis bees for mark-capture research. Journal of Insect Science. 18(3):10. https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/iey043.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/iey043

Interpretive Summary: The study of bee dispersal is important. It helps us to better understand their behavior and their ability to withstand environmental stress. Recent research has shown that proteins, such as egg albumin, are effective for mass-marking bees. Unfortunately, current protein mass-marking techniques require sacrificing individual bees during the data collection process. A non-lethal method for protein mark-capture research would be extremely helpful for the study of threatened, endangered or economically valuable pollinator species. We describe a non-destructive sampling method, in which three non-Apis bee species (Bombus bifarius, Osmia lignaria, and Megachile rotundata) were tested for the presence of an egg albumin mark. Results showed that an egg albumin-specific protein assay was 100% effective at detecting the protein signature on bees that were sampled non-lethally. Furthermore, this sampling method did not have an impact on bee survivorship, suggesting that immersing bees in buffer is a reliable and valid surrogate to traditional, destructive sampling methods to evaluate bee dispersal and behavior.

Technical Abstract: 1. The study of bee dispersal is important for developing an understanding of their behavior and their ability to withstand environmental stress. 2. Recent research has shown that proteins, such as egg albumin, are effective for mass-marking bees. However, current protein mass-marking techniques require sacrificing individual bees during the data collection process. 3. A non-lethal sampling method for protein mark-capture research is sorely needed; particularly for vulnerable, sensitive or economically valuable pollinator species. 4. This study describes a non-destructive sampling method, in which three non-Apis bee species (Bombus bifarius, Osmia lignaria, and Megachile rotundata) were tested for the presence of an egg albumin mark. 5. Results showed that an egg albumin-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was 100% effective at detecting the protein on bees that were sampled non-lethally. Furthermore, this sampling method did not have an impact on bee survivorship, suggesting that immersing bees in buffer is a reliable and valid surrogate to traditional, destructive sampling methods to evaluate bee dispersal and behavior.