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RE: [beemonitoring] robbing

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  • Wilson, Michael E
    Nancy, I had missed your previous ‘methods’ email, but I found it on the list. I have been out of town for a class, but am back now. My direct email is
    Message 1 of 16 , Jun 11, 2008
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      Nancy, I had missed your previous ‘methods’ email, but I found it on the list. I have been out of town for a class, but am back now. My direct email is mwilso14@... if you want to discuss directly.

      I’ll describe my methods but keep in mind at two summers experience, you have one more year experience then I.

      I’m looking at blueberries and cucurbits, but have a different method for each since I’m interested in different questions for those. It could be an advantage to have the same method for squash and blueberries though. A 40 meter transect would be larger than one of my locations. I decided against a bee per flower variable for blueberries due to the many number of flowers per bush. Many flowers are not quite open, but look open at a glance. So I instead went with bees per bush. I’m using % flowering per bush, which is rather subjective but I think its sufficient for my needs, and number of plants per location to check for flowering strength effect on bee numbers per bush. If this seems off, someone feel free to interject. Below is the basics of the blueberry method:

      For blueberries, the response variable will be visitation rate per bush by species group. Ten random blueberry bushes at each location (minimum 7 locations) will be observed on at least 2 separate occasions per location (I may increase to 3 if time allows, or decrease location #). Each blueberry bush, will be observed for 5 minutes. Bushes will be rated by percentage flowering to determine if flowering strength effects pollinator number. Pollinators will be counted and organized by species groups of honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, bright green bees, Osmia bees, Habropoda laboriosa, Diptera, Lepidoptera, and other Hymenoptera. Robbing or legitimate visits will be noted to determine if the insect is actually pollinating the flower, or instead, robbing nectar and bypassing pollination. Sex will be noted for carpenter bees to determine if males significantly rob more then females. My preliminary data indicates this.

      I am also noting specific families of bees, Lepidoptera, etc. not on the above list if I can distinguish them in the field, like the hummingbird moth, syrphids, etc.

      My main questions with blueberries are;

      What are the primary and minor pollinators of blueberry?
      What contribution do unmanaged bees provide toward pollination of blueberry compared to honey bees?
      What contribution do carpenter bees provide towards pollination?
      What factors influence carpenter bee robbing, such as nesting females (whom would need pollen) or other factors (planting size, etc.)?

      I should also note I did not see a single Habropoda at 5 of the above observation periods in East TN. A farmer co-operator in southern, middle TN whom is also doing the protocol saw one Habropoda (determined by his observation and a not so great photo) among 4 observation periods.

      For Cucurbits (watermelon, yellow squash, and pumpkin), I’m using 100 flower transects to get the bee per flower variable. I’ll be following the protocol in:

      Willis D. S. and Kevan, P. G. (1995). Foraging dynamics of Peponapis pruinosa (Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae) on pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) in Southern Ontario. The Candadian Entomologist 127: 167.


      Shuler, R.E., Roulston, T. H., Farris, G.E. (2005). Farming practicies influence wild pollinator populations on squash and pumpkin. Journal of Economic Entomology 98(3): 790-795.

      I will also provide data for/compatible to Jim Cane’s Squash Pollinators of the Americas Survey.

      During 2009 I would like to do some bagging experiments and data analysis like in:

      Winfree, R., Williams, N. M., Dushoff, J., and Kremen, C. (2007). Native bees provide insurance against ongoing honey bee losses. Ecology Letters 10: 1105-1113.

      But time and money is an unknown at this point. I would continue to use the 100 flower transect, but use methods in Winfree for pollen deposition and data analysis.

      Squash questions will be typical of Shuler et al and Winfree et al.

      Suggestions/comments welcome!

      -Michael Wilson

      -----Original Message-----
      From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com on behalf of nancy lee adamson
      Sent: Tue 6/10/2008 10:19 AM
      To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] robbing

      Hi, Michael,

      I would like to hear more details about the methods you are using. I didn't
      hear back much since I wrote about Winfree's approach. I am floundering a
      bit, so would love to hear what has been working well for you.

      Thanks. Nancy

      On Fri, May 30, 2008 at 10:18 AM, Wilson, Michael E <mwilso14@...>

      > Hi Nancy, sounds like we are doing the same thing. Dr. Sampson also has
      > an article on this.
      > Sampson, B. J., Kanka, R. G., Stringer, S. J. (2004). Nectar robbery by
      > bees Xylocopa virginica and Apis mellifera contributes to the pollination of
      > Rabbiteye Blueberry. Journal of Economic Entomology 97(3): 735-740.
      > here's the article I have for Dr. Delaplane
      > Dedej, S. and Delaplane K. S. (2004). Nectar-robbing carpenter bees reduce
      > seed-setting capability of honey bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Rabbiteye
      > blueberry, Vaccinium ashei, 'Climax'. Environmental Entomology 33(1):
      > 100-106.
      > I'm noting if each visitor is 'legitimate visit' or 'robbing' and will use
      > that in determining
      > the most significant pollinators. At two of my three sites honey bees
      > provided zero pollination that
      > I could tell. Carpenter bees over all seemed to be 'pretty good'
      > pollinators even though some robbed. The bloom
      > is over here, but I think I figured out what I need to do next year. I
      > certainly need more locations
      > as very different things where happening at each location.
      > I'm interested in what you said about robbing occurring after peak bloom.
      > Are you pretty confident
      > that it starts after peak bloom? My plans for the 2009 bloom was to visit 7
      > locations 2 times. I wonder
      > if I need to increase the per farm visits to get before, during, and after
      > peak bloom observations per farm?
      > One farm I visited never really had a peak bloom though, it was just
      > kind of a slow, steady, modest bloom, they trimmed heavily the previous
      > year due to the frost, and I think
      > that must have affected their bloom this year. They had robbing the entire
      > time.
      > -Thanks,
      > Michael Wilson (UTK grad student)
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com <beemonitoring%40yahoogroups.com> on
      > behalf of Wyatt Mangum
      > Sent: Fri 5/30/2008 9:25 AM
      > To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com <beemonitoring%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] robbing
      > Dear Nancy,
      > Dr. Delaplane has work with this. His contact address is
      > Dr. Keith S. Delaplane
      > Professor of Entomology
      > 463C Biological Sciences Building
      > University of Georgia
      > Athens, GA 30602 USA
      > voice (706) 542-1765
      > lab 706-769-1736
      > fax (706) 542-3872
      > ksd@... <ksd%40uga.edu>
      > Kind Regards,
      > Dr. Wyatt A. Mangum
      > Editor-in-Chief of Apiacta (digital version)
      > American Bee Journal Columnist on Honey Bee Biology
      > Mathematics Department
      > University of Mary Washington
      > 1301 College Avenue
      > Fredericksburg, VA 22401 USA
      > Email: wmangum@... <wmangum%40umw.edu>
      > >>> "nancy lee adamson" <nladamson@... <nladamson%40gmail.com>>
      > 05/30/08 9:14 AM >>>
      > I am monitoring bees on various crops, taking visitation counts. On
      > blueberries, after peak flowering, carpenter bees cut holes into the
      > flowers
      > and rob nectar. These holes are then used by honey bees, as well. I have
      > been including these in monitoring counts, but realized I should probably
      > remove them. Any thoughts from you all on this? Does anyone know if the
      > robbers still improve pollination on self- fertile flowers? Thanks for your
      > thoughts. Nancy
      > --
      > Nancy Adamson
      > Graduate Student in Entomology at Virginia Tech
      > tel: 540- 231- 6498

      Nancy Adamson
      Graduate Student in Entomology at Virginia Tech
      tel: 540-231-6498
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