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Open access

Monika Fliszkiewicz, Anna Kuśnierczak and Bożena Szymaś

The Accompanying Fauna of Solitary Bee Osmia Bicornis (L.) Syn. Osmia Rufa (L.) Nests Settled in Different Biotopes

Red mason bee Osmia bicornis (L.) is a solitary bee which has been shown to be a successful pollinator of many field crops and greenhouse crops. In favorable environmental conditions, this solitary bee can significantly raise the efficiency of crops. Controlled honeybee farms are invaded by various accompanying fauna. The aim of the study was to find out if the biotope may increase or limit the presence of foreign fauna in the nests of the solitary bee O. bicornis (L.). Four different biotopes were selected: a traditional orchard, the dendrological park of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kórnik, a mixed forest, and a haymeadow, where artificial aggregations of O. bicornis (L.) were made, with 300 specimens in each. They were given artificial nests of common reed. The nests were then analysed after the end of the brooding period. The number of brood chambers built by females was determined. The number of chambers where the forms of development stopped at the egg or larva stage, the number of parasite-invaded chambers, and the systematic membership of the encountered foreign fauna, was also determined. The analysis of variance and Duncan's test with the significance level of α=0.05 proved that the biotope influenced the development of the O. bicornis (L.) population. The females in the forest biotope built the most brood chambers in each tube on average, and the result was significantly different from the other biotopes. The largest number of larvae died in the nests which had been placed in the dendrological park, and that value was also statistically different from the others. The highest parasite invasion was noted in the nests situated in the forest.

Open access

Karol Giejdasz and Monika Fliszkiewicz

Abstract

The red mason bee (Osmia rufa L.) is a univoltine solitary species of the Osmia genus. This bee is reared on a commercial scale and used as a managed alternative pollinator. We intended that the results of our study would improve the management of this bee so as to synchronise their flying period with the blooming of crops. In the spring, we moved newly occupied nests of the red mason bee to a laboratory and placed them in incubators. Immature development was examined at three constant temperatures, 20°C, 25°C, and 30°C. Selected nests were opened to monitor the subsequent developmental stages. The remaining bees were wintered in nests stored at cool temperature (4°C). In April, we removed the insects from the nests and began incubation at 25°C to establish the emergence time of adult individuals. To determine the survival rate of adult bees, we moved the emerged specimens to cages, where they were fed and kept until death. Temperature increase generally reduced immature development time. But this tendency was not observed in the prepupal stage. During ontogeny the highest mortality rate was observed in wintering adult insects at developmental temperatures of 25°C and 30°C. Bees developing at constant temperatures emerged faster during spring incubation in comparison to those developing in natural conditions. Constant developmental temperatures decreased the survival rate of females as post-emergence adult insects. The survival rate of males was lower at the developmental temperature of 30°C.

Open access

Monika Fliszkiewicz, Aleksandra Langowska and Piotr Tryjanowski

Abstract

The red mason bee Osmia bicornis L. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) is a solitary gregarious species that is known to be a good pollinator of pear, apple, and several other Rosaceae fruit plants. Mainly females are active in plant pollination, and therefore they are of strong interest to farmers. As natural populations are usually male biased, here we studied the possibility of rearing a female-biased population of Osmia bicornis by examining the effects of sex ratio changes on female survival, insemination rate, and sperm count in the spermatheca. Using bees that had completed their winter diapause and were maintained in flying cages, we created three groups with different male:female sex ratios: 1:1, 1:2, and 1:3. The 1:3 sex-ratio group exhibited the best survival of females, but the lowest spermathecae sperm count. The insemination rate did not differ between groups. Our results indicate that-at least among bees housed in isolator cages for plant breeding- skewing the sex ratio towards more females does not affect bee survival, and efficient insemination can be expected with twice as many females as males.

Open access

Kamila Dmochowska, Karol Giejdasz, Monika Fliszkiewicz and Krystyna Żółtowska

Changes in the Antioxidative System of the Red Mason Bee (Osmia Rufa) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) Induced by Artificially Elongated Diapause

Osmia rufa as a polylectic insect is used in the pollination of numerous plants. The usefulness of this insect for plant breeders is considerably limited because of the short flight periods of the insects in the natural environment. In order to break this limitation, the wintering period of the insects in cocoons is elongated. The temperature is maintained at 4°C up to the time of plant blooming. This treatment does shortens the lifetime of the insects which may be the result of oxidative stress. Such results led to the examination of the selected components of antioxidative system. These components are: total antioxidative status, content of glutathione and activity of peroxidase and glutathione S-transferase in O. rufa emerged in spring, according to their biological clock, and emerged in summer - after elongated diapause. It was observed that diapause elongation unprofitably influenced the antioxidative system of a bee. A statistically significant decrease in total antioxidative status, and activity of both antioixidative enzymes - peroxidase and glutathione S-transferase, was noted. The changes in the glutathione level in turn, were insignificant. In our opinion, the lower efficiency of antioxidative systems of the red mason bee emerged in summer, may limit their response ability to endo- and exogenous factors influencing oxidative stress. The results of our study are the first publication concerning an antioxidative system in mason bees.

Open access

Karol Giejdasz, Monika Fliszkiewicz, Andrea Bednárová and Natraj Krishnan

Abstract

The red mason bee Osmia rufa is a solitary bee belonging to the family Megachilidae, and is prone to nest in aggregations. Each female builds a nest separately in pre-existing cavities such as holes in wood and walls or empty plant stems. This is done by successively setting the cells in a linear series. In this study, we elucidate the nesting behavior and the reproductive potential of a single O. rufa female. The reproductive potential of nesting females was evaluated after the offspring finished development. We observed that an individual female may colonize up to five nest tubes and build 5-34 cells in them (16 on an average). During the nesting time the number of cells decreased with the sequence of nest tubes colonized by one female, which built a maximum of 11 cells in the first occupied nest and 5 cells in the last (fifth nest). Our observations indicated that 40% of nesting females colonized one nest tube as compared to 7% colonizing five nest tubes. Furthermore, in subsequent nest tubes the number of cells with freshly emerged females gradually decreased which was the reverse with males. Thus, the sex ratio (proportion of male and female offspring) may change during the nesting period. The female offspring predominated in the first two nesting tubes, while in the subsequent three tubes male offspring dominated. We also cataloged different causes of reduction in abundance of offspring in O. rufa females such as parasitization or problem associated with moulting.