The Effects of Pollen Protein Content on Colony Development of the Bumblebee, Bombus Terrestris L.

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The effects of pollen protein content on the colony development of Bombus terrestris were investigated by feeding queens and queenright colonies with four different pollen diets. We used three kinds of commercially available pure pollen (Cistus spp. 11.9%, Papaver somniferum 21.4%, and Sinapis arvensis 21.8% crude protein). We also used a mixture which was made up of equal weights of these pure pollens (18.4 % crude protein). All queens and colonies were fed with sugar syrup and pollen diets ad libitum (28 ± 1 ℃, 65 ± 5% RH). Until there were 50 workers reached, colonies fed with the Cistus pollen diet (167.4 ± 28.9 g) consumed significantly more pollen than colonies fed with the Papaver pollen diet (140.7 ± 15.7 g), the mixed pollen diet (136.2 ± 20.1 g) or colonies fed with the Sinapis pollen diet (132.4 ± 22.6 g). The date when there were 50 workers reached was approximately one week later in the colonies fed with the Cistus, and colonies fed with the Papaver diet than in the colonies fed with the Sinapis diet, and for colonies fed with the mixed pollen diets. Considering 8 tested criteria, the best performances were observed using the Sinapis, and using the mixed pollen diets. The lowest performances were observed using the Cistus pollen diet. Results showed that pollen sources play an important role in commercial bumblebee rearing. Results also showed that the polyfloral pollen diets are more suitable for mass rearing of bumblebees than the unifloral pollen diets.

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