Colony ergonomics for a desert‐dwelling bumblebee species (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

TODD E. SHELLY, STEPHEN L. BUCHMANN, ETHEL M. VILLALOBOS, MARY K. O'ROURKE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abstract. Data on worker traffic, size and concentration of nectar loads, and size and composition of pollen loads were collected for a colony of Bombus pennsylvanicus sonorus Say in the Chihuahuan Desert in Arizona, U.S.A. Foraging activity increased through the morning to a peak level in early afternoon and then declined steadily thereafter. Pollen collection occurred primarily in the morning, whereas nectar was harvested throughout the day. Nectar loads decreased in size but increased in sugar concentration during the day. Following field observations, we excavated the nest and counted the numbers of immatures and adults present and measured the honey and pollen reserves. A total of 150 workers were present, and we estimate that the colony would have produced 174 queens and 192 males. Food reserves appeared small: pollen and honey stored in the nest represented only 18% and 35%, respectively, of the daily input. These results are compared to ergonomic data collected for B.vosnesenskii in the only other similar study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-370
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Entomology
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1991

Keywords

  • Bombus
  • Bumblebee
  • colony ergonomics
  • foraging behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science

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