Biology and management potential for three orchard bee species (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae): Osmia ribifloris Cockerell, O. lignaria (Say) and O. chalybea Smith, with emphasis on the former

Taxa

TitleBiology and management potential for three orchard bee species (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae): Osmia ribifloris Cockerell, O. lignaria (Say) and O. chalybea Smith, with emphasis on the former
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSampson, B. J., Cane J. H., Kirker G. T., Stringer S. J., & Spiers J. M.
Volume810
Pagination549 - 556
Date Published2009///
KeywordsASTERACEAE, BEHAVIOR-FORAGING, BEHAVIOR-NESTING, LIFE HISTORY, Megachilidae, OSMIA, POLLINATION, POLLINATOR, VACCINIUM
Abstract

What follows is comprehensive information on the biology and techniques for propagating select species of orchard bees for blueberry pollination, especially Osmia ribifloris Cockerell. Before we introduce O. ribifloris or any other bee species to a blueberry farm commercially, we must rear enough adults for field-scale release, design cheaper, lightweight nesting materials and increase grower awareness of the bee's value. We hope that by delivering reproductively viable bees onto farms, berry producers will gain a secondary source of revenue from selling surplus Osmia cocoons and nesting supplies. The results we present here represent 14 years of rearing orchard bees in the Deep South (Alabama and Mississippi), and should apply to blueberry growing regions west of the Mississippi River where one of the bee species, Osmia ribifloris, is endemic (e.g., Texas, California and Oregon). We also discuss some ecological, physiological and genetic costs of keeping a small pollinator population in captivity for almost a decade.