A Fluctuating Thermal Regime Improves Survival of Cold-Mediated Delayed Emergence in Developing Megachile rotundata (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

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A significant concern in the commercial application of the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), for pollination is synchronizing bee emergence and activity with peak crop bloom. Previous studies have demonstrated that the commercial spring incubation of this species can be successfully interrupted by low temperature incubation, thereby slowing development and giving producers flexibility in timing emergence to weather conditions or crop bloom. In this study, we demonstrate that the implementation of a fluctuating thermal regime, during which bees are given a daily one hour pulse of high temperature, markedly increases the “shelf-life” of individuals of this species. Although constant temperatures can be used to store bees for up to 1 wk with no decrease in survival, properly staged bees can be stored for up to 6 wk without a significant decrease in percentage of emergence. Hence, we expect fluctuating thermal regime protocols to become a valuable tool for M. rotundata managers, especially when timing nesting activity with peak bloom to maximize effectiveness.
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  • 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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