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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #359701

Research Project: Conservation of Genetic Diversity and Improved Storage Protocols for Agricultural Pests and Beneficial Insects

Location: Insect Genetics and Biochemistry Research

Title: Too hot in here: Heat stress impacts reproduction of Megachile rotundata

Author
item Wilson, Elisabeth - North Dakota State University
item Murphy, Claire - North Dakota State University
item Yocum, George
item Rinehart, Joseph - Joe
item Bowsher, Julia - North Dakota State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/4/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Megachile rotundata, the alfalfa leafcutter bee, is a solitary, cavity nesting bee that is experiencing a declining reproduction rate in the United States. Since the 1960s, the agricultural industry has commercialized these bees to pollinate alfalfa by providing nesting boxes. These nesting boxes can reach temperatures exceeding 35°C known to increase susceptibility to pathogens and increased gene expression, signaling stress. Heat stress can lead to physiological defects and eventually death of M. rotundata. Currently, measuring cavity temperatures under field conditions, has been done by using one temperature probe for 100s of cavities. This methodology does not account for the strength of the temperature probe to record cavities far away from its placement. To overcome this problem, I have designed a 3D printed nesting box that allows for the accurate measure of temperatures of 432 cavities. This study aims to understand how heat stress impacts the nesting decisions, diapause aversion, fitness, and sex of the brood of M. rotundata under field conditions. Our study found that temperature significantly varies by direction of the nest box, as well as the position within the nesting box and that bee nesting preference correlated with lower temperatures. Our study can lead to a greater understanding of how fluctuating temperatures impact bee reproduction and management strategies.