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Prewinter Management Affects Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) Prepupal Physiology and Adult Emergence and Survival

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The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata F. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), is widely used as a pollinator for production of alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., seed, and populations of these bees can be maintained by alfalfa seed growers or can be purchased from mostly Canadian bee providers. M. rotundata raised in Canada have higher survival rates during the incubation that occurs after winter storage than do bees produced in the northwestern United States, but no reason has been found for this difference. We investigated whether storing immature M. rotundata for various time periods at a warm temperature (16°C) before winter or allowing them to remain unmanaged at ambient temperatures affects physiological aspects of prepupae during the winter as well as the survival and longevity of adult bees after spring or summer incubation. Our results show that the timing of the onset of winter storage and incubation does affect prepupal weights, prepupal lipid and water contents, adult emergence, and adult female longevity. Winter storage of prepupae in November or December with a late June incubation resulted in heavier adults that emerged more readily than bees incubated in late May. However, adult females incubated in May thrived longer than June-incubated bees if fed a honey-water diet. Thus, some prewinter management regimes for M. rotundata commercial stocks may be more effective than others for achieving optimal adult emergence synchrony, as well as adult survival and longevity for pollination of a summer crop.

Keywords: Medicago sativa; alfalfa; alfalfa leafcutting bee; lipid

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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