Looking for observations on northern populations of Osmia

Discussion in 'Mason & other alternative bees' started by gord hutchings, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. gord hutchings

    gord hutchings New Member

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    Channel Length, Parasites and Global Warming - will we make the same mistakes with our native bee species?

    The following post is aimed at people in northern parts of North America but if anyone cares to comment, feel free. I'd like people from northern Washington and B.C. to participate and see if collectively, we could see if there is something to be learned from our observations.

    Having looked at the linear, unbroken (no intercalary cells showing usurpation), line of cells produced by single females, I have deduced from this that they live 3-4 weeks, minimum. A contact of mine in Cumberland, B.C., central Vancouver Island, (49°40'N, 125°00'W), stated that he had one female marked who lived 5-6 weeks? This is quite interesting and flies in the face of those in the bee world who profess to claim that they do not live past 2 1/2 weeks and only lay 2-4 females and 5-8 males in their life-span! (Bosch and Kemp, 2001). Phil Torchio and Vince Tepedino also have done research out of Utah concerning Osmia, and they claim that the nesting channels should not go past ~6" (15cm) as this is the most efficient length (Torchio and Tepedino, 1980). In my research, I found that I could push the bees to 40cm but statistically, the most efficient length for producing female offspring was 29cm. I have since contacted (name removed), and he gave me pretty much the same response as before when I was producing a scientific paper on my findings - not much help! Essentially, he was being vague and of limited communication and saying something about being in a different location etc., etc., and maybe that's why my findings were out of the norm. If it is to do with location, I'd like to investigate this.
     
    Now onto the question of parasites, cleptoparasites, and parasitoids, which I'm going to assume you know what I'm talking about. I will not comment on casual visitors that visit nesting sites out of a behaviour of "opportunistic-ism", but instead stay to direct, almost co-evolved ones. Examples of opportunistic parasites would be dermestid beetles, Vespulid wasps, ants etc. My collection of parasites is mainly reduced to the Chaetodactylus mite, and that's about it. Parasitoids however, (and I'm not included chalkbrood mould) include Monodontomerus, Ichneumonidae and Leucospis wasps, as I've actually witnessed them in and flying around my condos, but have also extracted them within cells and cocoons when I clean my condos. What is missing, are a plethora of others that have been documented by researchers, of which I'm either not aware of, or having yet witnessed for myself. This is something I was hoping you could assist on, and something we could all learn from.
     
    Several other parasites and parasitoids have been documented in the literature, and I have yet to fully prove to myself that they are in fact, inhabiting my bee condos (Bosch and Kemp, 2001; Krombein, 1967). These include Chrysura spp. and Sapygid spp. wasps, the cuckoo bee Stelis montana, which looks like Osmia only smaller, Tricrania stansburyi (Meloidae beetle), Trichodes ornata the Clerid beetle, Ptinus californicus the Spider beetle, and finally, the Tribolium spp. or Flour beetles. This might be a matter of different locales as the literature has all come out of Utah, Idaho and other south western states in the U.S. I have yet to see any of these in my collection here on Vancouver Island, but with the influx of so-called commercial bee sellers shipping cocoons around, plus with global warming, and combining with that we humans essentially producing a large monoculture of pollinators such as Osmia, sometimes in a relatively confined area, I'm predicting that some of these organisms will start to either show up, or perhaps they're already here and their numbers will increase. I'd like to start documenting this now and see if this comes to fruition. So far, this year has really been moist in our parts and I fear that it might be a bad one to try and document these things, but I'd like to give it a try anyways.
     
    Therefore, I was wondering if we could exchange some of our findings regarding channel length, individual bee life-span, parasitism etc. and see what trends happen. I hope I'm wrong, but the way we have fooled around with honey bees and other similar practices in agriculture, I think I'm on to something. This topic would be lost on most people, but I hope those of you who are keen on research and learning about the overall health of one of our important 2nd string bee pollinators, could discuss these findings for everyone to benefit. If you care to contact me directly, that's fine too.

    Gord Hutchings odonatas@uvic.ca
    Victoria, B.C.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Re: Looking for observations on northern populations of Osmi

    Gord, I'm changing this topic to a sticky for a couple of weeks, to keep it at the top. I'm hoping it will get more attention that way.
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Re: Looking for observations on northern populations of Osmi

    Ok, here it is November and I just today noticed this thread because it's in the "General discussion/everything else" category, which mostly has non-bee related stuff.
    Maybe a different forum location or category is needed?
    I am very much into native/solitary bees, but I don't check the General non-bee discussion areas.