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Old 07-23-2012, 05:40 PM   #1
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Default Bee as herbivores,plant choice ,growth,survival and reproduction

http://www.montana.edu/burkle/public..._2009_bees.pdf



Quote:
The performance of herbivores can be strongly affected
by the quality and quantity of plant food resources
(Awmack and Leather 2002). Such bottom-up
effects can scale up through ecological communities,
influencing the abundance of individuals and species
interactions (Hunter and Price 1992, Bukovinszky et
Quote:
Further work
is necessary to determine how nectar quality and availability
in the field influence larval performance and how these factors may scale up to affect adult bee fitness, bee abundance, and plant-pollinator mutualisms.
Including the effects of floral rewards on pollinator reproduction can provide a more comprehensive understanding of how environmental change may affect species, their interactions, and the ecosystem
services they provide
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:34 AM   #2
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"Further work is necessary to determine how nectar quality and availability in the field influence larval performance and how these factors may scale up to affect adult bee fitness, bee abundance, and plant-pollinator mutualisms"..... sometimes I think we really need to go back to the KISS principle. Everybody plant locally native species and... plants lots of em!!!
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:38 PM   #3
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It is essential to understand just what the differences between native and cultivated garden plants are, in terms of nutrients available to herbivores. How those differences affect the growth, reproduction and survival of individual species that make up a community is being evaluated. But it takes a lot of time and many people dedicated to this understanding. There is so much still to learn. Maybe enough of this kind of knowledge will convince more that native plants have an important place in our landscapes.

PHYSIOLOGICAL ECOLOGY
Nectar Sugar Limits Larval Growth of Solitary Bees
(Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)
LAURA BURKLE1,2,3 AND REBECCA IRWIN1,2

Quote:
ABSTRACT The bottom-up effects of plant food quality and quantity can affect the growth, survival,
and reproduction of herbivores. The larvae of solitary bee pollinators, consumers of nectar and pollen,
are also herbivores. Although pollen quantity and quality are known to be important for larval growth,
little is known about how nectar quality limits solitary bee performance. By adding different levels
of nectar sugar directly to solitary bee provisions in the subalpine of Colorado, we tested the degree
to which larval performance (development time, mass, and survival) was limited by nectar sugar. We
found that larval growth increased with nectar sugar addition, with the highest larval mass in the high
nectar-sugar addition treatment (50% honey solution). The shortest larval development time was
observed in the low nectar-sugar addition treatment (25% honey solution). Neither low nor high
nectar-sugar addition affected larval survival. This study suggests that, in addition to pollen, nectarsugar
concentration can limit solitary bee larval growth and development, and nectar should be
considered more explicitly as a currency governing foraging decisions related to producing optimally
sized offspring. The availability and sugar content of nectar may scale up to affect bee fitness,
population dynamics, and plant-pollinator mutualisms.
http://www.montana.edu/burkle/public..._2009_bees.pdf
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:35 AM   #4
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Very interesting article, thank you for posting it.

So many research articles require a fee of $20 - $40 just to read them. It's a real pleasure to find one that has free access.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:06 PM   #5
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NEWisc, really it is impossible to afford many. But the library subscribes to some journals and if you have access to a university library much more is available to read. Of course linking to them is impossible but when I get interested in a particular subject it is good to have many resources.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:11 PM   #6
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Seeing all the bees in my yard swarming the Joe Pye Weed, I remembered this thread & a question I had: presumably bees seek out plants with the most beneficial (quality) nectar? Is it true that the most wildly attractive plants are the ones, like eupatorium, that are flocked with bees? Are bees ever fooled by some plants just by looks alone, or not? I hope I'm making sense here. Another question, do bumblebees communicate with each other about nectar sources the way that honeybees do?
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:30 AM   #7
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A little complicated but good questions Beewonderful.
Nectar amounts and quality differs from plant to plant, season to season, soil, rainfall, species and even if caterpillars are feeding on the plant.
Floral hormones regulate nectar production, how much and when the nectar is released. Bees learn as they fly.So you can lure them in once but they will not come back once they learn. When the bees find a good source they stick to it until it no longer provides sufficient rewards for energy used to gather.

Do bumble bees communicate? It seems all hive/social bees can communicate as well as some solitary bees that like to nest near each other.

Here's a bit of reading.


Insect behaviour: Evolutionary origins of bee dances : Abstract : Nature

Quote:
Insect behaviour: Evolutionary origins of bee dances
A. Dornhaus1 & L. Chittka1
Although bumble-bees are highly social insects, their foraging has been considered to be managed as an individual initiative1, 2, 3, 4, in which each bumble-bee visits flowers not only to collect food, but also to gather information about other potential food sources5. Here we show that bumble-bees instead use a primitive, but surprisingly efficient, recruitment system: by performing extended excitatory runs in the nest, a single successful forager can alert the entire foraging force of a bumble-bee colony. But in contrast to what happens in other social bees, such as honeybees, the recruits are not informed about the location of the food. Instead, the successful forager brings home the odour of the newly discovered food source, conveying to the recruits information about the species of flower. These findings about bumble-bee communication shed new light on the early evolutionary origins of the elaborate dance language of the honeybee.
1.Lehrstuhl für Zoologie II, Biozentrum, Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany
BUMBLEBEE FORAGING PREFERENCES: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SPECIES AND INDIVIDUALS
Discussion from BUMBLEBEE FORAGING PREFERENCES: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SPECIES AND INDIVIDUALS

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Foraging preferences
Bumblebees have to learn how to get the nectar from flowers. In some flowers such as the daisy-like Compositae this is fairly easy, and involves repeated probing for small rewards while standing on the platform-like flower. Other flowers are more of a challenge, for example monkshood (Aconitum napellus) is a very complicated flower, and the bumblebee must learn just how to get inside to reach the comparatively large reward. So because the bumblebee must spend time learning how to get at the nectar in the various shapes and colours of flower available, they tend to specialise on one or two types or species of flower at a time. In fact many of them will visit only one species of flower as long as there are sufficient of them to provide enough nectar. It is this behaviour, called "constancy" that makes the bumblebee an invaluable pollinator of crops, as pollen deposited on the stigma (female part leading to ovary) of a different species is just wasted pollen and will not fertilise the flower, so will not lead to fruit or seed productio
Bee smart, bee healthy | e! Science News

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"We show that honeybees have the ability to associate temperature differences with food," said James Nieh, an associate professor of biology who headed the study. "This information may help guide bees looking for food by allowing them to distinguish which bees are returning to the hive with the highest quality of food."
Plant hormone regulates nectar production | e! Science News

Quote:
During her studies, a scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology has discovered that the plant hormone jasmonic acid – known as a signalling molecule after herbivory – not only regulates flower development in the bud stage, but also triggers nectar production.

Even though the question was about bees it is another floral clue of the type pollinators use to find nectar.
Floral humidity as a reliable sensory cue for profitability assessment by nectar-foraging hawkmoths

Quote:
The headspace of newly opened flowers reaches levels of about 4% above ambient relative humidity due to additive evapotranspirational water loss through petals and water-saturated air from the nectar tube. Floral humidity plumes differ from ambient levels only during the first 30 min after anthesis (before nectar is depleted in wild populations), whereas other floral traits (scent, shape, and color) persist for 12–24 h. Manipulative experiments indicated that floral humidity gradients are mechanistically linked to nectar volume and therefore contain information about energy rewards to floral visitors.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:41 AM   #8
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A bit more on bee communication since I mentioned solitary bees. Each of the solitary bees is still thought to forage without assistance from other bees. Probably why they do not range as far as social bees. But they do use the release of pheromones to mate and some to aggregate into rather large colonies.

A link to the abstract for an article which is available for a price but this gives a good idea of what the article covers.

ARS | Publication request: Bees (Chapter 14)

Title: Bees (Chapter 14)
Authors
Pettis, Jeffery
Pankiw, Tanya - UNIVERSITY OF CALF. DAVIS
Plettner, Erika - LASH MILLER LAB. CANADA

Quote:
Technical Abstract: Bees use pheromones to chemically communicate a variety of messages. This review chapter describes the current identification and understanding of chemical communication in bees; especially bees used for pollination. Additionally, the uses to date and potential uses of pheromones in agriculture are discussed. Honey bees and bumblebees have been studied in some detail and are used worldwide for pollination. Generally the social bees use a more complex set of chemical signals than do the solitary bees which often only use a sex or aggregation pheromone. Thus, the potential to use pheromones to manipulate honey bees and bumblebees is perhaps greater than for solitary bees such as Osmia and Megachile. Crop sprays with pheromones have been tried with honey bees and they continue to be tested. Additionally, in the near future we may see the use of brood pheromones to prolong the life of annual bumblebee colonies and to stimulate honey bee colonies for pollination. The use of bee pheromones is in its infancy; this chapter provides the background for continued research and development in the use of bee pheromones in agriculture.
Last Modified: 08/11/2012
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:06 PM   #9
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That is all very fascinating. I am intrigued by bumblebees' constancy in visiting the same flowers at a time. For example, in my yard I've observed that the eupatorium is very full of bumblebees, and meanwhile my blue lobelia colony has begun blooming (it's supposed to be a bumblebee favorite, right?). But very few bumbles are on the lobelia yet. Perhaps once the eupatorium slows down they will switch their loyalties? I'm curious to see what happens. I planted the lobelia for the bumblebees alone so I hope they begin visiting it!
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