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      Nesting biology of an Oriental carpenter bee, Xylocopa (Biluna) nasalis Westwood, 1838, in Thailand (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Xylocopinae)

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      Journal of Hymenoptera Research

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The biological study of wild non-Apis bees can provide useful information that may help with the pollination of food crops and native plants in areas where the keeping of honey bee colonies is restricted or affected by CCD. Here, we describe the nesting biology of the Oriental large carpenter bee, Xylocopa (Biluna) nasalis Westwood, 1838. An aggregation of more than 80+ bamboo nests of X. nasalis was discovered in Suan Pheung district, Ratch Buri province, Thailand on the 25th of May 2012. We collected 27 nests from the site to dissect, measure the external and internal nest architecture, and analyze the pollen composition of the pollen masses. X. nasalis constructs linear unbranched nests with nest entrance mostly located at the open-end of the bamboo culms. The nest length and the branch diameter of the nest entrance (excluding nesting edge) are 25.40 ± 6.95 cm and 17.94 ± 6.00 mm, and the maximum number of provisioned cells is 8. A biased sex ratio of 8♀: 1♂ is reported, with up to 7 adults inhabiting in a single nest. 29 pollen types were identified from 14 pollen masses using an acetolysis method and visualization under both light microscope and scanning electron microscope. 13 pollen types were considered as major pollen sources (contribute ≥ 1% in total pollen volume); however, only 10 can be identified to family and generic levels. The dominant pollen sources are of the families Elaeagnaceae (Elaeagnus cf. latifolia), Euphorbiaceae (Croton), Fabaceae (Senna siamea and Cassia), Fagaceae (Lithocarpus and Castanopsis), and Lythraceae (Trapa) which are mostly native to the region of Southeast Asia. The nesting architectural details should prove to be beneficial to beekeepers and researchers who are interested in trapping and studying X. nasalis, and the polylectic behavior of X. nasalis can be highly valuable for future crop pollination strategies, particularly for plants that require sonication of their poricidal anthers.

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          Most cited references 27

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          A Survey of Honey Bee Colony Losses in the U.S., Fall 2007 to Spring 2008

          Background Honey bees are an essential component of modern agriculture. A recently recognized ailment, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), devastates colonies, leaving hives with a complete lack of bees, dead or alive. Up to now, estimates of honey bee population decline have not included losses occurring during the wintering period, thus underestimating actual colony mortality. Our survey quantifies the extent of colony losses in the United States over the winter of 2007–2008. Methodology/Principal Findings Surveys were conducted to quantify and identify management factors (e.g. operation size, hive migration) that contribute to high colony losses in general and CCD symptoms in particular. Over 19% of the country's estimated 2.44 million colonies were surveyed. A total loss of 35.8% of colonies was recorded; an increase of 11.4% compared to last year. Operations that pollinated almonds lost, on average, the same number of colonies as those that did not. The 37.9% of operations that reported having at least some of their colonies die with a complete lack of bees had a total loss of 40.8% of colonies compared to the 17.1% loss reported by beekeepers without this symptom. Large operations were more likely to have this symptom suggesting that a contagious condition may be a causal factor. Sixty percent of all colonies that were reported dead in this survey died without dead bees, and thus possibly suffered from CCD. In PA, losses varied with region, indicating that ambient temperature over winter may be an important factor. Conclusions/Significance Of utmost importance to understanding the recent losses and CCD is keeping track of losses over time and on a large geographic scale. Given that our surveys are representative of the losses across all beekeeping operations, between 0.75 and 1.00 million honey bee colonies are estimated to have died in the United States over the winter of 2007–2008. This article is an extensive survey of U.S. beekeepers across the continent, serving as a reference for comparison with future losses as well as providing guidance to future hypothesis-driven research on the causes of colony mortality.
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            Functional group diversity of bee pollinators increases crop yield.

            Niche complementarity is a commonly invoked mechanism underlying the positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, but little empirical evidence exists for complementarity among pollinator species. This study related differences in three functional traits of pollinating bees (flower height preference, daily time of flower visitation and within-flower behaviour) to the seed set of the obligate cross-pollinated pumpkin Cucurbita moschata Duch. ex Poir. across a land-use intensity gradient from tropical rainforest and agroforests to grassland in Indonesia. Bee richness and abundance changed with habitat variables and we used this natural variation to test whether complementary resource use by the diverse pollinator community enhanced final yield. We found that pollinator diversity, but not abundance, was positively related to seed set of pumpkins. Bees showed species-specific spatial and temporal variation in flower visitation traits and within-flower behaviour, allowing for classification into functional guilds. Diversity of functional groups explained even more of the variance in seed set (r2=45%) than did species richness (r2=32%) highlighting the role of functional complementarity. Even though we do not provide experimental, but rather correlative evidence, we can link spatial and temporal complementarity in highly diverse pollinator communities to pollination success in the field, leading to enhanced crop yield without any managed honeybees.
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              Wild bees enhance honey bees' pollination of hybrid sunflower.

              Pollinators are required for producing 15-30% of the human food supply, and farmers rely on managed honey bees throughout the world to provide these services. Yet honey bees are not always the most efficient pollinators of all crops and are declining in various parts of the world. Crop pollination shortages are becoming increasingly common. We found that behavioral interactions between wild and honey bees increase the pollination efficiency of honey bees on hybrid sunflower up to 5-fold, effectively doubling honey bee pollination services on the average field. These indirect contributions caused by interspecific interactions between wild and honey bees were more than five times more important than the contributions wild bees make to sunflower pollination directly. Both proximity to natural habitat and crop planting practices were significantly correlated with pollination services provided directly and indirectly by wild bees. Our results suggest that conserving wild habitat at the landscape scale and altering selected farm management techniques could increase hybrid sunflower production. These findings also demonstrate the economic importance of interspecific interactions for ecosystem services and suggest that protecting wild bee populations can help buffer the human food supply from honey bee shortages.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Hymenoptera Research
                JHR
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2607
                1070-9428
                December 22 2014
                December 22 2014
                : 41
                : 75-94
                Article
                10.3897/JHR.41.7869
                © 2014
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