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The impact of nest tube dimensions on reproduction parameters in a cavity nesting solitary bee, Osmia bicornis (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

Seidelmann, Karsten, Bienasch, Adrienne, Pröhl, Franziska
Apidologie 2016 v.47 no.1 pp. 114-122
Osmia rufa, body size, females, nesting, nests, pollination, progeny, rearing, sex ratio, solitary bees, wild plants
Recent declines of bee populations have led to great interest in preserving bee species and fuel efforts to develop solitary species for pollination purposes. Xylophilous solitary bees can be easily reared in artificial nests tubes for commercial agricultural as well as wild plant pollination. The impact of the dimensions of these artificial nest tubes on reproduction parameters was studied in the red mason bee, Osmia bicornis (L.), in a long-term study. Increasing tube diameter positively affected both progeny sex ratio and body size. Sex ratio, but not progeny body mass, was negatively affected by short tube length. Building costs rose with increasing diameter accompanied by deteriorated efficiency of tube space utilization. Although female bees used a wide spectrum of nest dimensions, artificial nest tubes of 8–10 mm internal diameter and a length of at least 150 mm were optimal.