Honey bees have become increasingly unavailable and expensive for crop pollination since Colony Collapse Disorder was described and the world was alerted to CCD and the many factors that negatively impact honey bee health. Although other managed pollinators, such as bumble bees, alfalfa leafcutting bees, and blue orchard bees (BOBs), are available to pollinate certain crops, a ready BOB supply and well-developed management system for their use are especially lacking. BOB suppliers and managers need more information to supply customers with disease- and pest-free bees, to manage bees for optimal performance for pollination, and to maintain populations in numbers large enough for profitable business and to accommodate large commercial operations. We seek to meet six objectives that tackle primary stakeholder concerns: 1) understanding variation in developmental phenology of regionally-distinct BOB populations; 2) finding the genetic basis for regional differences of BOB sources through cross-breeding/mating experiments; 3) studies of population genetics; 4) examining pest and pathogen communities of BOBs from distinct sources; 5) describing patterns and seeking causes of BOB dispersal/loss in commercial settings; and 6) disseminating user-friendly information to the general public. Field collections, orchard and laboratory behavioral studies, molecular bioassays, and visual, x-radiographic, and microscopic diagnoses all will be employed to meet the research objectives. Dissemination of information and development of public education materials and events will be developed under consultation with Extension personnel in Washington, Oregon, California, and Utah. Findings will reduce the need to trap BOBs from the wild where the impact of trapping is yet unknown and, thus, will preserve local diversity of native populations. Better bee management would provide a more reliable source of alternative bees for pollination of suitable, pollinator-dependent crops. Understanding incidence of pests and disease will reduce the chance of epidemic outbreaks in managed populations and possible spillover to native bees. We will continuously educate the public and primary stakeholders, while seeking valuable input from stakeholders as results unfold and new research approaches are developed.
1. Determine the variation in developmental phenology of regional populations of BOBs by maintaining regionally-specific bees under managed or unmanaged conditions. Year 2 January-December; Year 3 January-June.
2. Determine the heritability of regional phenology traits for BOBs from California and Utah by examining population crosses in controlled experiments. Year 2 January-December; Year 3 January-June.
3. Using population genetic tools, assess the extent of population genetic differentiation among regions where BOBs are sourced and where they are deployed, detect the current structure of populations, and understand the potential for future admixture. Year 1 September – Year 3 May.
4. Using visual or molecular examinations, identify parasites and pathogens obtained from collections of bees from wild-trapped and managed populations, and use findings to infer how BOB stocking density, co-pollination with honey bees, and other management strategies may effect disease transmission within the pollination or mass propagation systems. Year 1 September – Year 2 August.
5. Determine the difference in the retention of females between California and Utah BOBs used as pollinators in regions outside of their geographic origin by examining the dispersal and flight range of these populations in cherry orchards in regionally distinct environments. Year 3 March-November.
6. Deliver high quality educational products and training on BOBs through extension and outreach to maximize information sharing and adoption of new technologies. Year 2 October – Year 3 December.
Hypothesis Objective 1: Developmental phenotypes of blue orchard bees are regionally adapted to match their local climatic conditions.
Hypothesis Objective 2: Allowing reproductive crossing of blue orchard bee populations from different geographic locations results in development timing in progeny according to sex that causes female bees to emerge as adults before male bees.
Hypothesis Objective 3: Blue orchard bee populations can be distinguished genetically according to regions where they naturally occur.
Hypothesis Objective 4: Some parasites and pathogens found in blue orchard bee populations are regionally-distinct, while others are common to most populations.
Hypothesis Objective 5: The propensity to disperse is increased when blue orchard bee populations are released for crop pollination in non-native regions and out of synchrony with natural adult emergence timing.
For Objective 1, in 2018, recently-provisioned (≤ one-week old) BOB nests traps in California, Washington, and Utah were collected from traps with tunnels lined with paper straws. Paper straws containing nests were shipped to the Pollinating Insects Research Unit (PIRU) in Logan, UT. The straws were sliced longitudinally so each cell could be visually inspected to select only cells with unhatched eggs or second instars. Unfortunately, most of the nests shipped from WA and CA contained cells with developing larvae that were too old for our experiment, and numbers of appropriate cells were too low for use in the experiment. The Utah nest cells, however, were collected by the PIRU research team and contained ample numbers of eggs and early instars. These nest cells were divided into two treatment groups for developing in either Washington temperatures (which is similar to Utah temperatures) or California temperatures (= 2 treatments, 300 cells each). For the “unmanaged” treatment, one group of cells were held in growth chambers programmed to mimic the natural daily temperature cycles of the climates of their origin (Wenatchee, WA) starting at the time of collection (see Pitts-Singer 2014). Programmed temperatures were 5-year averages obtained from local weather stations. Each cell was visually inspected daily to determine mortality and developmental stages until larvae (5th instars) completed the spinning of their cocoons (marking the start of the prepupal stage) (similar to Pitts-Singer et al. 2014). The bees were then x-rayed every two days to record when the bees reached pupal and adult stages. Thirty days after reaching the adult stage, a winter-managed subsample of bees were subjected to two intermediate temperatures over a two-week period until the winter storage temperature of 4°C was reached (Bosch & Kemp 2001). An unmanaged subsample of bees remained at fluctuating Logan temperatures. In March/April 2019, as if needed for pollination of WA and CA cherries, half of the cocooned adults from each treatment were incubated at 22ºC (Bosch & Kemp 2000), and the other half remained unmanaged until they emerge naturally. The length of each developmental stage, the time to emergence, duration of emergence period, and weight of adults for each group of bees were measured. Mortality (and any known cause of it) also was recorded for all developmental stages.
For this same objective, the collection of just-created bee cells from traps in CA, WA, and UT again occurred in spring 2019, and the experiment repeated with all three bee sources represented. Data collection was done in 2019 and continues through spring 2020 (as was done in 2018-2019), and generalized linear mixed models will be performed using PROC GLIMMIX to look for the effects of native region (CA, WA, and UT) and treatment (managed or unmanaged) on 1) developmental parameters for immature and adult bees, and 2) parameters concerning adult survival and duration of emergence period. Results will determine the value of trapping and/or propagating regional populations for local crop pollination, and whether efforts could be made to breed populations to be more locally synchronized with crop bloom.
For Objective 2, in spring 2018 in Winters, CA, adult bees from California and Utah were allowed to mate in screened field cages (n = 8) placed over blooming Phacelia tanacetifolia, and using supplied nesting tunnels and floral resources, the females could build nests. Two cages each contained mixed sources of adult bees (UT ♀ × CA♂; CA♂ × UT♀) and two cages each contained sames sources of adults as control crosses. Preliminary work suggested that mixing populations from different geographic locations may result in male progeny emerging after female progeny, which is the reverse of the natural protandrous system for this species (Trostle et al., unpublished). To determine if there are reproductive consequences of pairing bees from regionally-distinct trapping sites, we monitored cell production by each female and the progeny sex ratio. Offspring were allowed to develop to late larval or pupal stages in CA and then were transported to PIRU to be raised at constant temperatures using standard management procedures. Developmental time and survival were scored, and in spring 2019, these progeny were used in CA cage studies for Year 2 to perform back crosses. To stimulate downstream mating combinations, we made the following crosses: CACA♀ x CA♂, CAUT♀ x CA♂, CAUT♀ x UT♂, UTUT♀ x UT♂, UTCA♀ x UT♂, UTCA♀ x CA♂. The adults and progeny in the 2019 cage study were monitored and reared as in 2018-2019. Final data on progeny development (2019) and winter survival are being obtained through spring 2020.
For Objective 3, in 2017 for molecular analysis at PIRU, we obtained BOB females through trap-nesting and net collection from where populations have previously been located in California, Washington, Idaho and Utah. In addition, we used previously collected bees from Maryland, Virginia and Michigan as outgroups in analyses. A minimum of 15 female (diploid) adults were obtained for each population for analysis. We extracted DNA from a single leg of each bee using a Chelex® extraction protocol (modified from Walsh et al. 1991). Extracted DNA was stored at -20 °C. We used PCR to amplify microsatellites. The 10-μl multiplex reactions contain: 1 μl extracted DNA, 1x Promega (Madison, WI) reaction buffer, 0.6 mM dNTP mixture, 0.1-0.4 μM primer, 0.001 mg BSA, 0.4 units Taq polymerase (Promega, Madison WI), and the MgCl2 concentration will be adjusted to 1.4 mM. The PCR conditions for multiplex reactions are: one 4 min cycle at 95 °C, 30 cycles of 95 °C for 30 sec, and annealing at 54 °C for 75 sec, then 72 °C for 45 sec. The cycles were followed by a final extension period of 15 min at 72 °C. We used four previously developed loci (OruA8, OruC4, OruS4, and OruS8) in addition to six unnamed loci currently being developed by J. Strange. We separated the DNA amplifications on an Applied Biosystems 3730xl automatic sequencer (Life Technologies), and we scored allele sizes using GeneMapper™ v4.0 Software (Applied Biosystems). During 2017-2018, we determined population genetics and performed spatial analysis. To account for differences in sample sizes across regions, we used the program HP-Rare (Kalinowski 2005) to calculate allelic richness and private allelic richness. Arlequin v.3.5.x (Excoffier and Lischer 2010) or Genepop v.4.2 (Raymond and Rousset 1995; Rousset 2008) were used to determine the fixation index FST for each pair of groups heterozygoseties, population pairwise comparisons, analyses of molecular variance (AMOVA), and isolation by distance (IBD). In 2018, we used the Bayesian methodology implemented in the program STRUCTURE (Pritchard et al. 2000) to infer population structure. We estimated the optimal number of populations by employing the methods of Evanno et al. (2005) in STRUCTURE HARVESTER (Earl and vonHoldt 2012). Pairing this method with our IBD analysis verified that farm-by-farm and region-by-region structure in populations would not be overlooked.
For 2018 Objective 3 molecular analysis, we obtained BOB females through trap-nesting and net collection from where populations have previously been located in California, Washington, and Utah. We extracted DNA from a single leg of each bee. We sampled DNA from 20 individuals at multiple sites in each state. We used PCR to amplify microsatellites at four previously developed loci (OruA8, OruC4, OruS4, and OruS8) in addition to six unnamed loci currently recently developed by J. Strange. DNA amplifications have been completed, but analyses have not been done on the raw data files. During FY19, the eight DNA microsatellite primers designed in 2017 were ordered and tested for utility in studying population differentiation. These primers were evaluated for variability in BOBs, and of the eight primers, four were found to have utility. We performed a second iteration of primer design and development to increase the number of molecular markers available for this study. We continue to work towards determining population genetics and performing spatial analysis.
For Objective 4, to examine the health of the pollinator species, adult and immature bees plus cells with pests were collected from trap nests from all sites where they were collected in 2017 and 2018 to evaluate pest and pathogen levels. In the nest cells, parasites (cleptoparasitic bees and pollen mites) and parasitoids were removed, preserved in ethanol, counted, and identified (using DNA barcoding if necessary). The adult bees and developing bees were frozen immediately in liquid nitrogen. While frozen, adults will be identified and photographed using high resolution Z-stacks, and then they will be bisected. One half were homogenized in TRIzol® reagent (Invitrogen) for analysis as individual bees, and the other half used for analysis of spores of the protozoan parasites and Nosema. Both sets of samples will be kept at -80°C until full analysis. In 2018, O. lignaria (BOBs) and other Osmia species were trap-nested from areas in CA and UT and sampled from the CA mating cage experiment (Objective 2). Many bees from the stock for the cage experiment died in the pre-adult stage and, thus, were collected and later frozen them at -80°C; they are awaiting analysis. A limited number of bee samples have been extracted with TRIzol® reagent (Invitrogen) for molecular analyses, and the DNA and RNA have been isolated. Because the PCR work resulted in the detection of chalkbrood (Ascosphaera torchioi) in several of the collected BOBs, samples of the fungus were sent for DNA sequencing to gain additional genetic sequences for the pathogen and to allow for comparison of samples from the different regions. Sequences have been received and are being analyzed. PCR probes for the protozoan diseases are continuing to be tested and resolved for specificity. In addition, in a separate set of samples of O. lignaria and O. ribifloris, the microbiome was sequenced and characterized from pollen provisions. Further data will be collected in the future, to characterize the pathogens, parasites, and parasitoids.
For Objective 5 in 2019, to measure dispersal and BOB establishment with respect to source population and management history (Sgolastra et al. 2016), wild-trapped bees collected from California and Utah were introduced to spring-blooming commercial cherry orchards in both California and Utah. Nests collected in the previous year were maintained in cold storage as cocooned adults in containers until ready to be incubated for emergence in spring 2018. After a short incubation time, ready-to-emerge female bees were excised from cocoons from each population and marked on the thorax with enamel paint to denote whether the bee was sourced from California or Utah. Bees were released into the orchards at a rate of 300 females and 750 males per acre into commercial cherry orchards at onset of bloom, with equal numbers of Utah- and California-sourced bees. Three orchards (isolated by at least 1 km) in California and Utah were selected for this experiment. Within each orchard, a three-acre section (110 m × 110 m, hereafter called site center) served as the study’s bee release and main nesting site, and 16 corrugated plastic nest boxes containing 100 cardboard nesting tubes each (with paper straw inserts) distributed evenly throughout each three-acre section. Sixteen other nesting sites were placed both far (up to 500 m) and very far (1 km) from release points (up to 48 nest boxes per orchard) so that bees collected at all sites could be evaluated for their dispersal distance from release sites. Bees were permitted to forage and nest in orchards throughout the bloom period, during which up to 3 observations were made (on separate days) at each nest box to score presence of marked and unmarked female BOBs. In Utah, wild blue orchard bee populations have been observed foraging and nesting in managed cherry orchards (Pitts-Singer, unpub. data), which makes the use of the markers imperative for this study. Thus, in addition to evaluating emigration of managed bees from the orchard, we can also detect the immigration of (unmarked) wild bees into the orchard. By analyzing each nesting bee from all orchards in all both regions, we can obtain a thorough estimate of BOB retention over the course of the pollination season and statistically evaluate how dispersal may vary due to source population. Statistical comparisons were conducted using PROC GLIMMIX in SAS.
Subawards to transfer funds to Diane Alston of Utah State University for support of the graduate student and to Stephen Peterson of Foothill Bee Ranch have been dispensed as cooperative agreements with ARS PIRU.
Graduate student, Morgan Dunn, has been performing Objectives 1, 2, 5 and 6. She began her Master’s Degree program in January 2018. Ms. Dunn has had an MS committee meeting to establish a degree curriculum, has completed most of her coursework towards meeting degree requirements, has completed her project proposal narrative required by USU Graduate School, and has passed her qualifying exam. She is collecting the final components of research data, has begun to write her thesis and to develop extension videos, and plans to graduate before the end of 2020.
Bee nests containing cocooned adults, natural enemies and dead cells were collected in summers of 2017 and 2018 and (by winter) were shipped to PIRU. From these nests, we designated live bees for Objectives 1, 3, and 4. Cells with natural enemies and dead bees (larvae and adults) or unused provision were preserved for Objective 4. These nests were x-rayed for determining the number and category of each cell type.
For Objective 1, we coordinated with cooperating bee managers and ARS staff to obtain newly sealed bee nests from Washington, California and Utah where they trap bees. Those nests were sent to the Pollinating Insects Research Unit (PIRU) in Logan, UT for rearing at the various temperatures of the different regions, as described in the methods. 352 cells were received from California, 728 cells were received from Washington, and 679 cells were obtained from Utah. Approximately half of each population were put into incubators and allowed to develop at managed temperatures (constant 26°C) and the other half were exposed to unmanaged temperatures that mimicked their natural climate (6-year average annual temperatures by the hour, updated each week). During larval development, bees were checked three times per week until cocoons were completed. After which, bees were X-rayed one per week until bees reached adulthood and then bees were X-rayed once per month. One month after bees reached adulthood, the managed bees were gradually cooled over a two-week period until reaching an overwintering temperature of 4°C. Unmanaged bees remained at their natural temperatures throughout winter.
For Objective 2, Steve Peterson identified Hedgerow Farms as a collaborator to provide floral resources for CA cage experiments. In late Spring 2018, Morgan Dunn and PI Pitts-Singer transport chilled cocooned bees and field cages to Winters, CA. They set up the project equipment (e.g., cages and nest boxes), painted and measured adult females, and released bees in cages. Steve Peterson assisted Morgan Dunn in obtaining 5 weeks of data in CA and he also monitored larval development. From the data collected thus far, there were no significant differences between BOB crosses in time to initiate nests and in duration of the nesting period, nor in mean cell production per female. Utah adult females were found to be significantly larger than the California females. Utah females were twice as likely to nest as were California females. The Utah females also produced significantly more female offspring than did the California females, regardless of which of the source of males with whom they mated.
For the cage experiment work in 2019, Hedgerow Farms was contracted (paid) to plant a field of P. tanacetifolia. An ARS technician was hired specifically for helping in CA projects (Objectives 2&5). Because cocooned adults collected from the cage project in 2018 were managed for early spring emergence for the 2019 cage study, all progeny that successfully emerged were again deployed in the same field cages for the 2019 component of the project. We had enough progeny to have one cage per cross, except the “pure Utah” cross, which had 2 cages. Results currently are being analyzed, and any new offspring are being wintered for spring emergence and data collection.
For Objective 3, an ARS technician was hired to develop and use primers for examining the genetic differences in bee populations. To date, 46 primer pairs were designed and tested for amplification by gel electrophoresis. Pairs that yielded a product sized between approximately 100 and 500 base pairs in length as visualized on gels were then ordered as dye-labeled primers for closer scrutiny of fragment sizes. Seventeen pairs met this criterion. They were tested in single and multiplex reactions using bees from different regions. Three new potential microsatellite loci resulted, and the remainder either were homozygous or amplified poorly. We will next optimize multiplex reactions to examine genetic differences in bee populations. If the data set from resultant data set is not sufficiently robust, we will continue designing and testing new primers in 2020.
For Objective 4, chalkbrood (Ascosphaera torchioi) was detected in several of the collected BOB samples using PCR. Analysis of these sequences places the detected pathogens as being similar to the previously sequences samples of Ascosphaera torchioi. Additional dead larval samples have been identified that do not have chalkbrood; current work is focused upon defining the non-bee sequences found in these bees to determine linkage to other pathogens.
Also for Objective 4, DNA from pollen provisions of O. lignaria (BOBs) and O. ribifloris were extracted and sequenced for the bacterial ITS region. Sequences were analyzed to reveal the microbiome present in the pollen provisions of nests from the two species from four locations. Sequence analysis revealed for the first time some species-specific differences among the two species that may reflect differences in their biology. O. lignaria and O. ribifloris differ in host plant utilization with both using different floral hosts and also differ in nest cell construction. O. lignaria pollinates a wide variety of plant families, including Roseaceae; it makes nest partitions from mud. O. ribifloris has a more restricted host usage, primarily in the family Ericaceae; it uses pulped leaf pieces to construct nest partitions.
The microbiome of the two species was significantly different, and the location of the bees also influenced the provision microbiome. The microbiome lacked a core group of bacteria for both species; only 18 types of bacteria from 5,430 were shared by both bees in all four locations. The urban garden had more types of bacteria, potentially reflecting a greater diversity of available host plant species; whereas, a restricted canyon area had one quarter of the different types of bacteria. Among the bacteria identified in the microbiome were present sequences from known symbionts and pathogens. For gut symbionts known from other bees, Sodalis, Lactobacillus, Snodgrassella, and Gillamelia were identified. Snodgrassella and Gillamelia (bacteria known from honey bees and bumble bees) were found in only a few of the nests in the microbiomes, suggesting potential contamination of pollen on floral hosts by honey bees or bumble bees. Sodalis and Lactobacillus were found at higher percentages in both species, with Lactobacillus found in 13-16% of the nests of the two species. Further research is needed to determine the role of these bacteria in the health of the bees. For potential pathogens, Wolbachia sequences were detected in 2-6% of the nests. Previously the Wolbachia sequences have been found in DNA sequences of O. lignaria. This bacterium is known to affect reproduction and can lead to hybrid incompatibility in some species. Identifying Wolbachia support the need for caution in movement of O. lignaria from area to another. Current work is focused upon defining the pathogens in the progeny of the crosses from the bees from different states.
For Objective 5, Stephen Peterson identified cherry producers that allowed use of their property for the 2019 research work to occur. Dr. Peterson also provided CA-sourced bees, and UT-sourced bees were purchased for use. In California sweet cherry orchards, we had low female retention; a mean of 3.9% of the females released were later detected nesting at site centers. Comparing female retention based on population source, we found that significantly less CA-sourced females were retained at site centers than UT-sourced females (p<0.0001). We detected marked bees nesting far and very far away, showing that BOBs are capable of dispersing at least 1 km in dense agricultural lands. Only 3 CA-sourced females and 5 UT-sourced females were detected nesting far or very far away across all three sites. Nine unmarked females were detected across all three sites only at site centers, suggesting that these bees were probably sourced from our cocoons released as males and are not from local populations.
In Utah tart cherry orchards, a mean of 13.2% of the females released were later detected nesting at site centers. Here, we found no significant difference in female retention based on population source (p=0.2098). Marked bees were again found far and very far away, but in higher numbers than in CA; a total of 19 CA-sourced females and 41 UT-sourced females were detected nesting far or very far away across all three sites. A total of 236 unmarked females were found nesting in our nest boxes across all three sites; 119 unmarked bees were found at site centers and 117 were found far and very far away. The large numbers and even distribution of unmarked females throughout the sites suggests that these bees were from local populations, either wild or managed. From a mean of 13.2% percent female retention, we recovered a mean of 44.9% of the female population at site centers. When recovering progeny from entire sites (site center plus far and very far away), a mean of 79.3% of the female population was recovered. At site 3, 61.4% and 114.6% of the female population was recovered at site center and far and very far away, respectively. This highlights a potentially novel method for propagating managed populations in orchards in which we can use BOB’s apparent propensity to disperse to our advantage. BOB nesting substrates can be deployed throughout common orchard growing regions, even 1 km from where any given population is released, to maximize population return.
None completed to date.
Objective 6 Producer and Ag Professional Education Activities: Several activities will be pursued to develop and deliver high quality and convenient educational products and training for BOB producers and vendors, growers interested in BOBs as orchard pollinators, extension agents, and researchers. First, a series of three one-hour webinar lectures will be developed and delivered, one in each of the three project years. The webinars will be offered in a “Learn at Lunch” format, scheduled mid-day during a winter month when bee producers, growers, and other stakeholders are most likely to be available to view their computers. Selected researchers, collaborators, and cooperators with new and relevant knowledge will share best management practices for BOB production as part of each lecture. The webinars will be delivered as live-streaming interactive audio/video via Zoom, a video conferencing software program, and will be hosted by eXtension. Utah State University (USU) Extension has a membership with eXtension that includes a site license for Zoom events. To better engage the audience, each presenter will join the webinar via webcam, so that the audience can see their face alongside their slideshow. Additionally, participants can use their computer mics to ask questions, or use chat windows to submit written questions and comments. Webinars will be advertised well ahead of time, and the number and location of participants tracked to assist with impact assessment. Second, a series of 5-6 YouTube videos will be developed to address management “how to” topics, e.g., how to: prepare bees for winter storage; assess and clean dead, diseased, and parasitized cells; situate nesting sites in or around orchards for maximizing pollination; best safeguard bees from hazards; track BOB nesting activity; use alternative floral resources during the nesting season. Video recordings were made with a high quality video camera by Extension collaborator and media specialist Dennis Hinkamp to portray bee management in orchards and how bees are processed in the laboratory. Using a microscope camera, photographs were taken by graduate student Morgan Dunn to show stages of bees development.
BOB videos will provide current and novel information on BOB management practices that can reach a wide swath of stakeholders. The YouTube video format will reach and engage stakeholders who rely on digital media for mobile and convenient information. Third, two public outreach workshops will be offered as a final day of the annual Orchard Bee Association meeting. Attended by registered members, including BOB producers and vendors of bees and accessories/equipment, orchardists interested in BOBs as alternative or complimentary pollinators, extension agents, researchers and students, this annual meeting is hosted at different locations across the western states. Registered attendees and all interested public stakeholders will be invited to attend the workshop. The workshops will be advertised through pollinator and fruit and nut tree crop producers, extension offices, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and other relevant mailing lists and channels. The goal of the public workshops is to engage traditional and non-traditional stakeholders in obtaining the latest information about management and application of alternative pollinators.
Scholarly Publication and Educational Materials: A second volume to a popular and essential guide book on blue orchard bee management practices will be written and published. The first volume was authored by two former USDA ARS Pollinating Insects Research Unit scientists, J. Bosch and W. Kemp, entitled “How to manage the blue orchard bee as an orchard pollinator” and was published by the Sustainable Agriculture Network. New and expanded knowledge on BOB management and implementation will be included in volume 2, and will include various topics such as the benefits of alternative floral resources on BOB propagation, optimal nest box spacing and distribution within orchards, the risks and impacts of pesticide exposure to nesting BOBs, and BOB preferences for nesting materials/substrates.
All of the research objectives will be achieved with methodologies that will result in publication in peer-reviewed publications written by PIs (and student). PIs and student also will present findings at professional and industry meetings (e.g., Entomological Society of America national and branch meetings). Fact sheets will be created under consultation with extension collaborators as education materials that can be uploaded onto university-maintained websites.
Educational & Outreach Activities
List of presentations:
Dunn, M., D. Alston, T. Pitts-Singer, and S. Peterson. Mixing regionally-distinct populations of blue orchard bees, Osmia lignaria, to understand development, emergence, and reproductive success. 2018 Joint meeting of Entomological Society of America, Entomological Society of Canada, and Entomological Society of British Columbia, 10 min student competition talk, Vancouver, BC, November 11-14. (Ms. Dunn was awarded the President’s Prize (1st place) for her presentation.)
Dunn, M., D. Alston, T. Pitts-Singer, and S. Peterson. Exploring regional variation in populations of blue orchard bees. 2018 Orchard Bee Association, 15 min contributed research talk, University of California, Davis, December 7-9.
Dunn, M., D. Alston, T. Pitts-Singer. Managing blue orchard bees for pollination services in Utah: Best practices”. 2019 Utah Association of County Agricultural Agents Summer Meeting, June 5.
Dunn, M. How to manage solitary bee hotels and bee-friendly gardening practices. Wild Birds Unlimited, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 2019.
Dunn, M., D. Alston, T. Pitts-Singer, and S. Peterson. Examination of blue orchard bee, Osmia lignaria (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) origin on retention in commercial cherry orchards. 2019 International Pollinator Conference, poster presentation, Davis, California, July 17-20.
Dunn, M., D. Alston, T. Pitts-Singer, and S. Peterson. Examination of blue orchard bee retention and dispersal in commercial cherry orchards. 2019 national conference of Entomological Society of America, 10-minute student competition talk, St. Louis, Missouri, November 17-20.
Dunn, M., D. Alston, T. Pitts-Singer, and S. Peterson. Blue orchard bee retention and dispersal in commercial cherry orchards, 15 min contributed research talk, Riverside, California, December 13-14.
- none to date
Due to working in cherry orchards in California and Utah for examination of regional effect on dispersal (Objective 5), our team worked with local orchardists and their neighbors, which inherently exposed them to the concept of using BOBs for pollination.
None to date.