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A native managed pollinator Department of Entomology

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1 A native managed pollinator Department of Entomology
The blue orchard bee: A native managed pollinator Native to North America Temperate zone fruit trees: almonds… Manageable pollinator, supply, rearing, developmental biology Christelle Guédot Department of Entomology

2 Most important insect pollinators: Bees
Feed on nectar and pollen Pollen collecting structures (scopa, corbicula) 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 Osmia bicornis Jeremy Early Wikimedia Commons Andrena John B. Pascarella, Sam Houston State University

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

4 Bees 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) Stephen Buchmann Smallest North American bee (Perdita minima) on largest female carpenter bee T'ai Roulston, University of Virginia

5 Bees: distinguishing characteristics
Bees vs. Wasps Robust Slender Hairy Smooth Flat rear legs Slender legs Feed on nectar and pollen Predators mommammia Flickr James Cane

6 Life cycle of a solitary bee
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. Photos: Dennis Briggs

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

8 Cavity-nesting solitary bees
~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 About 30% of our native bees nest as solitary individuals in wood tunnels, usually hollow stems, or the abandoned beetle borer holes found in dead trees, or stumps. Photos: Edward Ross, Darrin O’Brien, Matthew Shepherd

9 Bees for fruit tree pollination
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 Christelle Guédot, UW-Madison

10 Flower morphology ♀ organ ♂ 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 The blue orchard bee 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

13 5th instar larva inside coccon
The blue orchard bee Females Male Female ” long Prepupa 5th instar larva inside coccon White pupa Black pupa Adult

14 Eggs hatch, larvae grow into pupae
Life cycle of blue orchard bee Eggs hatch, larvae grow into pupae Late March April - May June The bees overwinter as adults. They emerge when it’s about 55 degrees, males first then females a few days later. They mate, and the males are dead within two weeks. Females forage for a few days, then begin nesting in available holes. One hole is owned for each female. 25 trips or so of pollen gathering makes a pea sized mass of pollen/nectar. She backs in and lays an egg, then seals that chamber with about trips of mud gathering. The egg hatches within a week or so and begins to eat the pollen mass. After a month, the larva has eaten all of the pollen and then spins a cocoon. Later in the summer it metamorphosis into an adult bee, and then hibernates through the winter. July - Aug Sept - March Dormant adults

15 Identifying females vs. males
Males smaller than more robust females Males have longer, more slender antennae Males do not have scopa, females do Males have more facial hair Males often have additional hairs on face “mustache” or extra yellow maculations

16 Life history Fecundity: 10 - 20 eggs / nesting female (2.5 - 6 ♀ 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

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

18 Foraging behavior and pollination effectiveness
Why the blue orchard bee? Foraging behavior and pollination effectiveness % Stigma contact Almond Apple Pear Osmia 98.7 97.7 Apis (P) 67.3 - 51.8 Apis (N) 39.5 32.7 19.0 Christelle Guédot, UW-Madison

19 Why the blue orchard bee?
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: % Dandelion Golden currant

20 Why the blue orchard bee?
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 with blue orchard bee
Commercial Apple Orchard, Utah Apple yield (bushel) Apple Variety Honey Bee Blue orchard bee McIntosh 4380 5186 Red Delicious 986 3248 Golden Delicious 204 288 Jonathan 430 417 Rome 184 307 Total 6184 9446 53% increase

22 Why the blue orchard bee?
Commercial cherry orchard, Utah Year Pollinator Cherry yield (Kg) ♀ BOB increase 1992 Honeybee - 1993 3,040 1994 5,545 1995 4,820 1996 3,695 1997 1998 Blue orchard bee 14,875 5.44 1999 4,150* 2.17 2000 16,935 4.21 2001 4,415** 1.03 2002 -* 2.45 2003 6,680*** 0.62 * Freezing event; ** missed timing on BOB release; ***high bee predation by birds

23 Number of females Optimal number of nesting females for adequate pollination Blue orchard bee Almond Apple # nesting females/acre 300 250 # females/tree 3 2.5 In comparison, need honeybee hives / acre (typically 30, ,000 workers / hive)

24 Pollination efficiency
Flower efficiency and fidelity 75 flowers per “load” of pollen and nectar 15-35 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 Christelle Guédot, UW-Madison

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

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) James Cane, USDA ARS Shelter with wooden blocks and chicken wire

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

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

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

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

32 A typical BOB season 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

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

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

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

36 A typical BOB season 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)

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

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

39 Spray guide

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

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