Heat Retention During Incubation in Nests of the Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

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Temperatures within polystyrene, paper, and wooden nests of the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.), were monitored during incubation at 30.0°C. In the polystyrene and paper nests, temperatures began to increase 10 d after the start of incubation and continued to rise until adults emerged. Temperatures reached 35.1°C In the polystyrene and 37.2°C in the paper, while the wood nests never exceeded 30.6°C. Compared with air temperature degree-days, cells in the center of the polystyrene nests accumulated up to 28 more degree-days after 20 d, whereas those in the paper accumulated 32 more degree-days. In polystyrene nests, heat units increased toward the center holes, reaching a maximum at the fifth row toward the center. Emergence was also monitored from polystyrene blocks, wooden boards, and loose cells. Females emerged 2.1 d later from polystyrene blocks compared with wooden boards and the emergence period was lengthened by 2.5 d. Because of the increased temperatures and the prolonged emergence period experienced with these materials, we recommend that filled polystyrene and paper nests not be incubated but be stripped of their cocoons as they were designed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1994

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