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Christelle Guédot Department of Entomology The blue orchard bee: A native managed pollinator.

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Presentation on theme: "Christelle Guédot Department of Entomology The blue orchard bee: A native managed pollinator."— Presentation transcript:

1 Christelle Guédot Department of Entomology The blue orchard bee: A native managed pollinator

2 Most important insect pollinators: Bees 1.Feed on nectar and pollen 2.Pollen collecting structures (scopa, corbicula) 3.Display floral constancy (strong tendency to visit flowers of the same type on a single foraging trip): important for pollination because minimizes pollen wastage and stigma clogging with pollen from other species Wikimedia Commons Andrena 0/insects/bee-collecting-pollen.jpg Osmia bicornis Jeremy Early John B. Pascarella, Sam Houston State University

3 Why are bees important? Whole foods and Xerces Society "Share the Buzz" campaign (2013)Share the Buzz

4 At least 25,000 known species of bees Social vs. solitary, 90% being solitary ~4,500 of solitary spp. in North America Wisconsin: ~390 spp. (Wolf and Ascher, 2008) Bees T'ai Roulston, University of Virginia Stephen Buchmann Smallest North American bee (Perdita minima) on largest female carpenter bee

5 Bees: distinguishing characteristics Bees vs. Wasps RobustSlender HairySmooth Flat rear legsSlender legs Feed on nectar and pollenPredators James Cane mommammia Flickr

6 Photos: Dennis Briggs Mining bee (Andrena sp.): a year in its underground nest as egg, larva, and pupa before emerging to spend a few weeks as an adult. Life cycle of a solitary bee

7 ~70% of native bee species nest underground Resemble ant-nests from above ground Nests may be as deep as 3 Ground-nesting solitary bees Photos: Eric Mader, Matthew Shepherd, Dennis Briggs

8 Photos: Edward Ross, Darrin OBrien, Matthew Shepherd ~30% of native species nest in cavities Nest in hollow plant stems, old beetle borer holes, man-made cavities Nest have tunnel partitions constructed of mud, leaf pieces, or sawdust Artificially managed for some crops Cavity-nesting solitary bees

9 Impediments to bee pollination on fruit trees -Early season; bad weather -Short flowering period: 2-3 weeks -Flowers receptive only few days -Cool temperatures slow pollen germination ovules might degenerate before fertilized -Incompatibility: bees must move between inter-compatible cultivars in different rows Bees for fruit tree pollination Christelle Guédot, UW-Madison

10 Flower morphology organ Pistil

11 Apple pollination Pollinate king blossoms (first to open, produces larger fruit) Pollinate blossoms with large amount of compatible pollen for high number of seeds, which relates to fruit size and shape Size of fruit affected by number fruit produced; thinning might be required Christelle Guédot, UW-Madison

12 Osmia lignaria, a native Solitary but gregarious Nest in pre-existing cavities Only females provision nest Collect nectar and pollen for provision Collect mud for nesting material Back Front Provision Egg Cell1 Mud partitions The blue orchard bee

13 Females Male Female long Prepupa 5 th instar larva inside coccon White pupaBlack pupaAdult

14 April - May Late March Sept - March July - Aug June Life cycle of blue orchard bee Eggs hatch, larvae grow into pupae Dormant adults

15 Males smaller than more robust females Males do not have scopa, females do Males have longer, more slender antennae Males have more facial hair Identifying females vs. males

16 Fecundity: eggs / nesting female ( eggs) Longevity adult females: ~20 days Females build ~ 2-4 nests in lifetime Emergence:- males emerge hrs after warming - females emerge 1-3 days later Life history

17 Native Commercial use in 1970s Forages in cool weather > 54°F Visits many tree species: almonds, apple, pear, cherry, apricot,… Why the blue orchard bee? Osmia lignaria distribution Designed by The Polistes Corporation

18 Foraging behavior and pollination effectiveness AlmondApplePear Osmia Apis (P) Apis (N) % Stigma contact Why the blue orchard bee? Christelle Guédot, UW-Madison ?docid=18333

19 Blue orchard bees readily move from tree to tree and row to row Facilitate cross-pollination, rather than pollination within a tree or within a cultivar Preference for fruit tree pollen: % Golden currant Dandelion Why the blue orchard bee?

20 Active at low light levels and low temperatures 33+ hours foraging in 5 days 15+ hours by honey bees Usual foraging range: ft Max. foraging range: 1,300 ft Homing ability: 4,000 ft

21 Apple yield (bushel) Apple Variety Honey Bee Blue orchard bee McIntosh Red Delicious Golden Delicious Jonathan Rome Total Commercial Apple Orchard, Utah 53% increase Apple yield with blue orchard bee

22 * Freezing event; ** missed timing on BOB release; ***high bee predation by birds Why the blue orchard bee? Commercial cherry orchard, Utah

23 Number of females In comparison, need honeybee hives / acre (typically 30, ,000 workers / hive) Optimal number of nesting females for adequate pollination

24 Flower efficiency and fidelity 75 flowers per load of pollen and nectar loads per provision 75 X 25 (avg.) = 1,875 flower visits per provision Female provisions 7 – 12 cells in her life A single female visits 10,000-20,000 flowers in her lifetime! Remember: % orchard flower pollen Pollination efficiency Christelle Guédot, UW-Madison

25 What do you need to have blue orchard bees in your orchard? Care, attention, enthusiasm Bee stock Nesting equipment Appropriate storage facility Proper handling Center/Books/How-to-Manage-the-Blue- Orchard-Bee How to manage the blue orchard bee

26 Where to obtain bees and materials

27 Nesting shelters Attach shelter on tree or fence post Orient SE for longer foraging activity (and more attractive to nesting females) Shelter with wooden blocks and chicken wire James Cane, USDA ARS

28 Nesting blocks Prefer wood blocks Paper straws in cavities help for handling and storage Reeds Wafer boards

29 -19/64 (7.5 mm) hole diameter -6 (15 cm) long -Plan on 3-5 nesting cavities per female released Nesting cavities

30 Mud is a vital nesting material Clayey mud, not sand or loam Need safe place for gathering mud, within 20-50ft. of nest Nesting material

31 Example for Northern Utah 1)March/April About two weeks prior to expected bloom: Check flower development Check weather forecast A typical BOB season

32 2) March/April Set up nesting materials and mud sources Incubate bees at 72-76°F (22-25°C) Emerged bees can be held at 37-41ºF for ~a week A typical BOB season

33 3) March/April Release BOB population ( females males per acre for full pollination in almonds, cherries, apples, and pears) A typical BOB season

34 4) May/June Retrieve nesting materials Move nests to summer storage (avoid excessive heat, direct sun) Take measures to avoid parasitism A typical BOB season Blue orchard bee nests by black light trap Note large numbers of drowned Monodontomerus in tray Adult female chalcid wasp, Melittobia chalybii Adult female chalcid wasp, Monodontomerus

35 5) June through August Monitor development with monthly development checks Select 10 male cocoons from different nests A typical BOB season

36 6) Mid/late September Move nests to winter storage (refrigerator) Check small sample of females from different nests to be sure that all adults Best if population held for 1 week at 55°F before being placed in artificial wintering at 39°F Require minimum of 3 months wintering: adults go dormant (diapause) A typical BOB season

37 7) November/December Quantify population Remove parasites and diseased bees (now dead) Prepare nesting materials for the following season A typical BOB season Recently emerged male covered with migratory nymphs of hairy-fingered mite Chalkbrood fungus Hairy-fingered pollen mite, Chaetodactylus krombeini

38 Blue orchard bees are superb orchard pollinators BOBs can be used alone or along with honey bees Easy management Bees are safe Summary

39 Spray guide

40 Jordi Bosch Theresa Pitts-Singer William P. Kemp USDA-ARS Beelab Acknowledgements

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