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Large Carpenter Bees as Agricultural Pollinators

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Abstract

Large carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa) are wood-nesting generalist pollinators of broad geographical distribution that exhibit varying levels of sociality. Their foraging is characterized by a wide range of food plants, long season of activity, tolerance of high temperatures, and activity under low illumination levels. These traits make them attractive candidates for agricultural pollination in hot climates, particularly in greenhouses, and of night-blooming crops. Carpenter bees have demonstrated efficient pollination service in passionflower, blueberries, greenhouse tomatoes and greenhouse melons. Current challenges to the commercialization of these attempts lie in the difficulties of mass-rearing Xylocopa, and in the high levels of nectar robbing exhibited by the bees.
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Psyche
Volume 2010, Article ID 927463, 7pages
doi:10.1155/2010/927463
Review Article
Large Carpenter Bees as Agricultural Pollinators
Tamar Keasar
Department of Science Education—Biology, University of Haifa, Oranim, Tivon 36006, Israel
Correspondence should be addressed to Tamar Keasar, tkeasar@research.haifa.ac.il
Received 12 September 2009; Accepted 9 January 2010
Academic Editor: Claus Rasmussen
Copyright © 2010 Tamar Keasar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which
permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Large carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa) are wood-nesting generalist pollinators of broad geographical distribution that exhibit
varying levels of sociality. Their foraging is characterized by a wide range of food plants, long season of activity, tolerance of high
temperatures, and activity under low illumination levels. These traits make them attractive candidates for agricultural pollination
in hot climates, particularly in greenhouses, and of night-blooming crops. Carpenter bees have demonstrated ecient pollination
service in passionflower, blueberries, greenhouse tomatoes and greenhouse melons. Current challenges to the commercialization
of these attempts lie in the diculties of mass-rearing Xylocopa, and in the high levels of nectar robbing exhibited by the bees.
1.TheRoleofNon-ApisBeesin
Agricultural Pollination
Insect pollination of agricultural crops is a critical ecosystem
service. Fruit, vegetable or seed production from 87 of
the 115 leading global food crops depends upon animal
pollination [1]. The value of insect pollination for worldwide
agricultural production is estimated at C153 billion, which
represents 9.5% of the value of the world agricultural
production used for human food in 2005 [2]. The area
cultivated with pollinator-dependent crops has increased
disproportionately over the last decades, suggesting that the
need for pollination services will greatly increase in the near
future [3]. This contributes to the concern to beekeepers,
growers of insect-pollinated crops, and policy-makers over
recent widespread declines in honey bee populations (Colony
Collapse Disorder) [46].
Wild and domesticated non-Apis bees eectively comple-
ment honey bee pollination in many crops [7,8]. Examples
of management of non-Apis species for agricultural polli-
nation include the use of bumble bees, primarily for the
pollination of greenhouse tomatoes, the solitary bees Nomia
and Osmia for the pollination of orchard crops, Megachile for
alfalfa pollination, and social stingless bees to pollinate coee
and other crops [912].
This paper focuses on the large cosmopolitan genus
Xylocopa as an additional provider of agricultural pollination
services. Aspects of these bees’ life-history, social organiza-
tion, and foraging ecology are discussed in the context of
their potential role as crop pollination agents.
2. The Biology and Life History of
Carpenter Bees
Large carpenter bees belong to the tribe Xylocopini within
the subfamily Xylocopinae (Hymenoptera: Apidae). They
are currently grouped into a single genus, Xylocopa [13].
The genus comprises at least three clades [14] and ca. 470
species [15]. Carpenter bees occur in tropical and subtropical
habitats around the world, and occasionally in temperate
areas [16]. Biogeographical analyses suggest that the genus
probably has an Oriental-Palaearctic origin, and that its
present world distribution results mainly from independent
dispersal events [14].
As implied by their name, carpenter bees dig their nests in
dead or decaying wood, except for the subgenus Proxylocopa
that nests in the soil [17]. The wood-nesting carpenter bees
construct two main types of nests: (i) unbranched (also
called linear), with tunnels extending in either one or both
directions from the nest entrance. Linear nests are usually
constructed in hollow or soft-centered plant material, such as
reeds; (ii) branched nests (>2 tunnels), usually constructed
in tree trunks or timber [18]. The type of nest constructed
usually varies with species, but some species show plasticity
2Psyche
in nest architecture, depending on the nesting substrate
available to them [19]. The nesting female lays one or a few
eggs along a tunnel during a brood cycle, provisions them,
and constructs partitions of masticated wood to separate
the ospring from one another. Maternal care in carpenter
bees also involves guarding of the immature ospring and
feeding of the newly matured ones by trophallaxis [2022].
In some species, helper females participate in ospring care
rather than nesting independently, thus nesting can be social
(see below). Some species are univoltine, whereas others
produce more than one brood per year [19]. The activity
season of carpenter bees spans 8–12 months, depending on
species (e.g., [21,2325]). Carpenter bees in temperate areas
hibernate during the cold season [19,26], but emerge to
forage on warm winter days [21,23].
The mating behavior of carpenter bees has been
described for 38 species belonging to 16 subgenera [27].
Variation in mating strategies among subgenera has been
recorded. In some subgenera, males search for females at
nesting sites, flowers, or landmarks (non-territoriality). In
others, they monopolize resources used by females, such
as flowers or nesting sites (resource-based territoriality).
Males may also monopolize areas lacking resources for
females (non-resource-based territories, or leks) [18,28]. A
phylogenetic analysis suggests that resource defense is the
ancestral state, and that this mating system is correlated with
low color dimorphism between males and females and a
small size of the mesosomal pheromonal gland [27].
Territorial males chase away intruding males [28,29],
which they identify by sight and by the odor emitted from
the intruders’ mandibular glands [30]. They also use a
pheromone secreted from their mandibular gland to mark
their territory [30]. When females enter the territories, males
follow and try to mount them [28,31]. Observations of
copulations in carpenter bees are extremely rare [28]and
were recorded only for a handful of species. In X. varipuncta,
matings take place in the non-resource territories [32], while
in X. sulcatipes and X. flavorufa, they occur at high elevation
during flight [21,31,33].
3. Social Organization
Sociality, involving non egg-laying guard bees and a domi-
nant egg-laying forager, has been described for ten species
of Xylocopa. In nests of the African species X. combusta,
first eclosing daughters remain in their natal nests and
perform guarding duties while their mothers produce a
second brood ([34]cf. [22]). Similarly, in nests of X.
pubescens sociality generally occurs after the emergence of
the young, where either the mother is the reproductive and
a daughter guards or vice versa [20,35]. Matrifilial nests of
X. virginica (comprised of a mother and her daughters) also
show reproductive skew, and guarding individuals become
reproductive in the following year. In these nests, the mother
performs all nest maintenance, foraging, cell preparation
and oviposition, whereas the younger inactive females only
perform guarding duties [36]. Nests of X. sulcatipes can
be matrifilial, composed of sisters, or involve the joining
of unrelated females [21,37]. Some X. sulcatipes nests are
initially quasisocial (no reproductive division of labor), but
after a brief period of reproductive competition involving
oophagy, a division of labor is usually established. Eventually
most nests contain one reproductive and a guard [38].
The helping role of female ospring has been suggested to
promote greater maternal investment in daughters than in
sons, leading to the female-biased sex ratio recorded in X.
sulcatipes [37]. In both X. pubescens and X. sulcatipes, the
reproductive females produce 100% of the ospring while
the guards produce none [39].
Nests of X. sonorina also exhibit high reproductive
skew, where the forager (mother) reproduces and feeds
nestmates via trophallaxis, and additional females (daughters
and/or joiners) share guarding duties [40]. For X. frontalis,
X. grisescens, and X. suspecta matrifilial, semisocial, and
communal nests have been recorded [41]. Genetic analysis
of X. aeratus and X. bombylans, which form multi-female
nests during part of the breeding season, indicated the
presence of multiple matrilines in approximately 50% of
nests. Socially nesting females were frequently sisters in one
of the populations studied, and were often unrelated in a
second population. The results also indicated that temporary
high reproductive skew occurred in multi-female nests, that
is, that dierent females were reproductive during dierent
parts of the season [22].
Several ecological and life-history variables were sug-
gested to promote social nesting in carpenter bees. Social
living was found to correlate with late season [42]andolder
age [35]inX. pubescens, possibly because matrifilial nesting
only occurs when mothers produce their second brood. Nest
structure was proposed as an additional factor that aects
social organization: in some species, females in branched
nests build and provision separate tunnels at the same time,
which can result in a communal social organization. In
other species, females construct one tunnel for the first
brood generation and only construct a new tunnel after the
first brood has reached maturity. This can then result in
eusocial nesting, where the daughters of the first generation
assist their mother in building and provisioning subsequent
tunnels [19]. Finally, a period of reproductive inactivity of
mature ospring was proposed as a transition step toward
social living. Such a period occurs in some solitary species
(such as X. frontalis and X. grisescens), where newly emerged
adult females remain in their natal nest for 20–30 days.
During this time, they are provisioned by their mother or
by their oldest sister, if the mother is absent. In some species,
this association becomes permanent in a fraction of the nests
(e.g., in X. suspecta [25]), which then become social.
Improved defense against parasites and predators has
been suggested to favor the evolution of social nesting in bees
(e.g., [43]). Carpenter bee nests are attacked by several types
of natural enemies, including parasitoid wasps and flies,
predatory wasps, ants, termites, and insectivorous birds [21,
44]. However, in X. pubescens, the frequency of parasitism did
not dier between social and solitary nests [45]. Thus the role
of guards in reducing nest parasitism is not supported so far.
The most extensive work on the consequences of sociality
has been carried out for X. pubescens. In this species, the
Psyche 3
frequency of social nesting increases as the reproductive
season progresses. It has been suggested that this increase
has evolutionarily been imposed on females by shortage in
nesting sites [20]. Social nesters spend more time foraging
outside their nests as compared with solitary individuals,
perhaps because the presence of the guard in the nest
reduces the risk of prolonged foraging [46]. Social nesters
also suer fewer nest takeovers by intruders than solitary
nesters, providing a possible benefit for social nesting when
competition for nests is high. The guards, in turn, may
benefit from increased indirect fitness (if related to the
reproductive), and increase their chances of eventually taking
over the nest [46]. Thus, social organization can aect the
fitness of X. pubescens females. Social and solitary nesters
that foraged within a greenhouse diered in their food-plant
preferences. Social females directed more of their foraging
to a pollen source (Portulaca oleracea) than solitary nesters,
possibly because of their higher brood production rates [47].
4. Foraging Ecology
4.1. Abiotic Requirements for Foraging. Carpenter bees toler-
ate high ambient temperatures during foraging, and most
species are inactive at low temperatures. For example, the
lower activity temperature thresholds are 23CforX. capitata
[48], 21CforX. sulcatipes, and 18CforX. pubescens [21].
Flower visit rates in X. olivieri are highest at a combination
of high (25–35C) temperatures and low (1–100 Lux) illu-
mination levels [17]. X. arizonensis individuals that foraged
on Agave schottii together with honey bees and bumble
bees were active mainly during the late morning hours,
whilehoneybeesandbumblebeesweremorecrepuscular.
Thesepatternsweresuggestedtoreectlowcompetitive
ability, together with high thermal tolerance, in the carpenter
bees [49]. X. varipuncta maintains flight activity within
an ambient temperature range of 12–40C[50]. This heat
tolerance suggests good heat regulation ability in carpenter
bees, possibly controlled by a thermoregulatory center in the
prothorax [51].
The activity period of some species, for example, X.
sulcatipes, X.cearensis, and X. ordinaria, spans most of
the daylight hours [21,52,53]. In other species (such as
X. pubescens, X. tabaniformis,andX. olivieri), activity is
crepuscular [17,21,54,55]. A few species are nocturnal:
X. tenuiscapa forages on its pollen host on moonless nights
[56], and X. tranquebarica [57] has been observed foraging
on moonlit nights.
4.2. Water Balance. Carpenter bees often ingest excess water
during nectar foraging. Analysis of nectar consumed by X.
capitata showed that it is very concentrated. Nevertheless,
their hemolymph is only moderately concentrated, and their
urine is very dilute. This suggests that ions, rather than water,
may be limiting for carpenter bees [58]. This hypothesis
is supported by the observation that bees often excrete
water before and during flight, and that they often engage
in water evaporation from ingested nectar [59]. A similar
excess of water ingestion, which leads to copious excretion
and evaporation of water, was described for X. pubescens
foraging on the nectar of Callotropis. On the other hand,
physiological water requirements are finely balanced with the
water contents of Callotropis nectar in the sympatric species
X. sulcatipes, possibly due to extended coevolution with this
plant [59].
4.3. Nectar Robbing. Nectar-foraging carpenter bees often
perforate the corollas of long-tubed flowers, and thereby
reach the nectaries without contact with the anthers. Such
“illegitimate pollination” or “nectar theft” has been reported
for X. virginica and X. micans foraging on blueberries. Nectar
robbing in blueberries may reach 100% of the visits [60]and
significantly reduces fruit set and seed number as compared
with plants visited by honey bees ([61], but see [62]). Nectar
robbing by carpenter bees has also been observed in the wild
plants Petrocoptis grandiflora [63], Fouquieria splendens [64],
Glechoma longituba [65], and Duranta erecta [66]. Corolla
tube perforation contributed to the reproductive success
of the plants in P. g r a n di ora and F. splend e ns, indicating
that the nectar robbers were dusted with pollen during
foraging, and functioned as pollinators. In G. longituba and
D. erecta, on the other hand, nectar robbing by carpenter
bees reduced seed set, as compared with plants visited by
legitimate pollinators [6366].
4.4. Food Sources. Carpenter bees in natural habitats are
generalist nectar and pollen foragers. For example, foraging
X. cearensis were recorded from 43 plant species in Bahia,
Brazil [52], while X. latipes and X. pubescens foraged on 30
species in India [67]; In Israel, X. pubescens and X. sulcatipes
used 61 species as forage plants [21]; X. darwini in the Pacific
is known to visit the flowers of 79 plant species [29]; 28 plant
species provide nectar and pollen for X. ordinaria in Brazil
[53].
Carpenter bees can also be trained to collect sucrose
solution from feeders in experimental settings. In laboratory
experiments, X. micans were able to discriminate between
sucrose solutions that diered in mean volume (1 versus 3
microliter) and concentration (10% versus 30%). They were
indierent to variability in both nectar volume and nectar
sugar concentrations. This risk indierence was recorded if
the bees were fed or starved [68].
5. Crop Plants That Are Pollinated by
Carpenter Bees
Carpenter bees pollinate passionflower (Passiflora spp.)in
their native habitats [69] and in commercial agricultural
settings [7073]. They provide better pollination service
than honey bees for this crop [71]. Xylocopa subgenus
Lestis has been successfully reared in greenhouses for tomato
pollination in Australia. Their foraging activity led to an
increase in tomato weight by 10% relative to a combination
of wind and insect pollination. The eciency of carpenter
bees in pollinating tomatoes is increased by their ability to
buzz the anthers [9]. In a pilot study in Israel, the fruit
set of greenhouse-grown honeydew melons was three times
4Psyche
higher when pollinated by X. pubescens compared to honey
bee pollination [74]. Social and solitary nesters had similar
eciency in pollinating this crop: they did not dier in the
daily activity patterns and flower visitation rates. Pollination
by both types of nesters led to similar fruit sets, fruit mass,
and fruit seed number [47].
Carpenter bees are important pollinators of cotton in
Pakistan, India, and Egypt [33]. X. varipuncta is compared
favorably with honey bees (Apis mellifera) as pollinators of
male-sterile cotton in field cages in the USA [75]. However,
X. pubescens in Israel did not provide satisfactory pollination
of cotton for hybrid seed production (D. Weil, personal
communication). Finally, the night-flowering cactus Cereus
repandus (syn. C. peruvianus) is pollinated by X. pubescens in
Israel [76].
6. Domestication and Mass Rearing of
Carpenter Bees for Agricultural Pollination
A major obstacle to the commercial use of native pollinators
in agriculture is the need to mass-rear them, rather than col-
lect them from nature. Devising ecient and cost-eective
mass-rearing protocols for X. pubescens is a necessary step
in this direction. Attempts to mass-rear carpenter bees
have focused on the construction of nest boxes that are
placed in natural habitats to enhance nesting success. Skaife
[77] constructed observation nests of bamboo tubes and
transferred hibernating X. cara into them. Most of the
females remained in these nests after they exited hibernation.
Oliviera and Freitas [78] designed and tested nest boxes
for X. frontalis, based on the general design of Langstroth
honey bee hives. Each of nine wooden frames in these
boxes was modified to serve as an independent Xylocopa
nest. Colonization rates of these boxes ranged from 19% to
52%, and the proportion of males in the emerging brood
was 0.38. Eorts to develop protocols for captive mating
and rearing of carpenter bees have so far met with limited
success (unpublished results). The endocrine and molecular
pathways that underlie reproduction in carpenter bees are
yet unknown. Elucidation of these pathways will help
identify the bottlenecks in the bees’ reproduction, which may
include overwintering of adults, mating, sperm storage and
choice, nest construction and/or brood care. Information on
the potential reproductive pitfalls, and their physiological
mechanisms, is expected to facilitate the development of
eective captive breeding methods for Xylocopa.
7. Conclusions and Future Prospects
Carpenter bees possess several advantages as potential crop
pollinators compared to other non-Apis bees. Many solitary
bees have a short activity season and/or are specialist
foragers, and therefore do not provide a broad alternative
to honey bee pollination. Carpenter bees, on the other
hand, have long activity seasons and feed on a wide range
of plant species. In addition, they are capable of buzz-
pollination. This makes them potentially more versatile as
agricultural pollinators. Hibernation occurs in the adult
stage, and females start foraging whenever temperatures
reach high enough values. This means that it is relatively easy
to manipulate the onset of foraging in greenhouses. Another
important advantage is that the genus has a worldwide
distribution. This implies that local species of Xylocopa can
potentially be used over wide areas, reducing the need to
import exotic pollinators. The possibility to lure these bees
into suitable artificial nesting material allows provisioning
of nesting material that can be easily used in agricultural
settings and moved to places where pollination services are
needed [79].
In spite of higher per-capita pollination eciency in
some crops, carpenter bees are clearly inferior to honey bees
in terms of pollinator work force, as they do not form large
nests. Therefore they are expected to contribute most to crop
pollination when honey bees are ineective. For example, the
high termoregulatory ability of carpenter bees enables them
to forage at higher ambient temperatures than honey bees.
This makes them attractive candidates as pollinators in hot
areas and in hot microclimates, such as in glass houses. The
crepuscular and nocturnal activity of some species may also
allow them to pollinate night-flowering crops, which are not
visited by honey bees.
Several problems remain in the management of carpenter
bees for crop pollination, which call for further research.
Most important is the need to develop an ecient captive
breeding program for carpenter bees, which would include
controlled selection of genotypes, mating, and nest founding.
Such protocols have already been developed for other non-
Apis pollinators, such as Osmia lignaria [80]andOsmia
cornuta [81]. They include guidelines for nest construction
and placement, overwintering and transportation of the bees.
A complementary challenge is to enhance reproduction of
wild Xylocopa populations, through provisioning of nesting
material to their natural habitat. The availability of nesting
resources was shown to correlate with the community struc-
ture of wild bees [82]. Moreover, experimental enhancement
of nest site availability has led to dramatic increases in wild
populations of Osmia rufa [83]. These findings suggest that
Xylocopa populations, and the pollination services they pro-
vide, may also benefit from nest site enhancement in agro-
ecosystems. Additional information about the pathogens and
parasites of the genus is needed as well [84]. A combination
of ecological, physiological, and molecular genetic studies is
likely to provide these essential data.
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... In some cucurbits like in ridge gourd mostly flowers open at late afternoon to night and usually last only for one night (Keasar, 2010) so, pollinators are getting very short time for the pollination. Another issue with ridge gourd is that its pollens' viability is highest only during night and it is reduced in next morning and remain only up to 10% (Nepi and Pacini, 1993). ...
... Pollen load carried by abundant pollinator was recorded after different pre-defined visit viz., 1, 2, 4, 6, 8. After each visit insect was collected in ethanol and pollen was counted (Vidal et al., 2006;2010;Pande and Verma, 2016). Pollen deposition was assessed by bagging the female flower and opened one by one for insect visit (Reddi and Reddi, 1983). ...
... During our experiment in a vineyard, a variety of nontarget insects, such as wasps, chafers, ladybirds, spiders, flies, lacewings, moths, hoverflies, leafhoppers and plant bugs, were caught. Compared with the traps baited with sunflower oil only, the traps with 4-methylanisole trapped significantly more halictid bees, Xylocopa appendiculata and Oxycetonia jucunda Faldermann (unpublished data), which are well-known pollen consumers [43][44][45] . The capture numbers of other nontarget species were not different between the traps baited with 4-methylanisole and the control lure (unpublished data), suggesting that the capture of these bycatches was not associated with WSFC pheromone. ...
Article
Full-text available
The white-spotted flower chafer (WSFC), Protaetia brevitarsis Lewis, is native to East Asia. Although their larvae are considered a potential resource insect for degrading plant residues, producing protein fodder, and processing to traditional medicine, adult WSFCs inflict damage to dozens of fruit and economic crops. The control of the WSFC still relies heavily on pesticides and the inefficient manual extraction of adults. Here, we report the identification and evaluation of the aggregation pheromone of WSFCs. From the headspace volatiles emitted from WSFC adults, anisole, 4-methylanisole, 2-heptanone and 2-nonanone were identified as WSFC-specific components. However, only anisole and 4-methylanisole elicited positive dose–response relationship in electroantennography tests, and only 4-methylanisole significantly attracted WSFCs of both sexes in olfactometer bioassays and field experiments. These results concluded that 4-methylanisole is the aggregation pheromone of WSFCs. Furthermore, we developed polyethylene vials as long-term dispensers of 4-methylanisole to attract and kill WSFCs. The polyethylene vial lures could effectively attracted WSFCs for more than four weeks. Pheromone-based lures can be developed as an environmentally friendly protocol for monitoring and controlling WSFC adults.
... During our experiment in a vineyard, a variety of nontarget insects, such as wasps, chafers, ladybirds, spiders, flies, lacewings, moths, hoverflies, leafhoppers and plant bugs, were caught. Compared with the traps baited with sunflower oil only, the traps with 4-methylanisole trapped significantly more halictid bees, Xylocopa appendiculata and Oxycetonia jucunda Faldermann (unpublished data), which are well-known pollen consumers [43][44][45] . The capture numbers of other nontarget species were not different between the traps baited with 4-methylanisole and the control lure (unpublished data), suggesting that the capture of these bycatches was not associated with WSFC pheromone. ...
Article
The white-spotted flower chafer (WSFC), Protaetia brevitarsis Lewis, is native to East Asia. Although their larvae are considered a potential resource insect for degrading plant residues, producing protein fodder, and processing to traditional medicine, adult WSFCs inflict damage to dozens of fruit and economic crops. The control of the WSFC still relies heavily on pesticides and the inefficient manual extraction of adults. Here, we report the identification and evaluation of the aggregation pheromone of WSFCs. From the headspace volatiles emitted from WSFC adults, anisole, 4-methylanisole, 2-heptanone and 2-nonanone were identified as WSFC-specific components. However, only anisole and 4-methylanisole elicited positive dose–response relationship in electroantennography tests, and only 4-methylanisole significantly attracted WSFCs of both sexes in olfactometer bioassays and field experiments. These results concluded that 4-methylanisole is the aggregation pheromone of WSFCs. Furthermore, we developed polyethylene vials as long-term dispensers of 4-methylanisole to attract and kill WSFCs. The polyethylene vial lures could effectively attracted WSFCs for more than four weeks. Pheromone-based lures can be developed as an environmentally friendly protocol for monitoring and controlling WSFC adults.
... Large carpenter bees, species of the genus Xylocopa Latreille, 1802, are considered as one of the important floral visitors and bee pollinators of flowering plants in many terrestrial ecosystems, including both agricultural plants and non-agricultural settings (Gerling et al., 1989;Hurd, 1963;Keasar, 2010;Mawdsley et al., 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
The paper aimed to identify and describe the taxonomic morphological structure of Xylocopa species in North Eastern Libya. The samples were collected from different natural sites of Aljabal Alakhder region, identified, and morphological description and measurements of body length (in cm) (From antennal base to apical of pygidium), front wings length, thorax, and abdomen width were conducted, four species of Xylocopa were identified and described morphologically, which includes Xylocopa (Koptortosoma) pubescens Spinola, 1838, Xylocopa (Proxylocopa) olivieri Lepeletier 1841 , Xylocopa (Rhysoxylocopa), amedaei Lepeletier, 1841, Xylocopa iris (Christ, 1791). Our conclusion revealed that the investigated area was diverse with Xylocopa species and insists on the importance of descriptive study to supply taxonomic information
... During our experiment in a vineyard, a variety of nontarget insects, such as wasps, chafers, ladybirds, spiders, flies, lacewings, moths, hoverflies, leafhoppers and plant bugs, were caught. Compared with the traps baited with sunflower oil only, the traps with 4-methylanisole trapped significantly more halictid bees, Xylocopa appendiculata and Oxycetonia jucunda Faldermann (unpublished data), which are well-known pollen consumers [43][44][45] . The capture numbers of other nontarget species were not different between the traps baited with 4-methylanisole and the control lure (unpublished data), suggesting that the capture of these bycatches was not associated with WSFC pheromone. ...
Article
Full-text available
The white-spotted flower chafer (WSFC), Protaetia brevitarsis Lewis, is native to East Asia. Although their larvae are considered a potential resource insect for degrading plant residues, producing protein fodder, and processing to traditional medicine, adult WSFCs inflict damage to dozens of fruit and economic crops. The control of the WSFC still relies heavily on pesticides and the inefficient manual extraction of adults. Here, we report the identification and evaluation of the aggregation pheromone of WSFCs. From the headspace volatiles emitted from WSFC adults, anisole, 4-methylanisole, 2-heptanone and 2-nonanone were identified as WSFC-specific components. However, only anisole and 4-methylanisole elicited positive dose–response relationship in electroantennography tests, and only 4-methylanisole significantly attracted WSFCs of both sexes in olfactometer bioassays and field experiments. These results concluded that 4-methylanisole is the aggregation pheromone of WSFCs. Furthermore, we developed polyethylene vials as long-term dispensers of 4-methylanisole to attract and kill WSFCs. The polyethylene vial lures could effectively attracted WSFCs for more than four weeks. Pheromone-based lures can be developed as an environmentally friendly protocol for monitoring and controlling WSFC adults.
... Both feeding and nesting facilities are key factors in stabilizing the population of X. valga. The response of the local people towards X. valga has been rather negative in spite of its ecological importance (RAJU & PURNACHANDRA RAO, 2006;KEASAR, 2010). This is primarily because of its potential to damage local, commercial and cultural property besides being physically intimidating. ...
Article
The presence of Xylocopa valga is reported for the first time from the high altitudes of Union Territory of Ladakh (more than 3,000 m above sea level), India. Several bees were observed in the area from May 2019 to September 2020, where it is considered to be a pest because of its aptness for making nests in residential and commercial buildings. The species has likely expanded its geographical area due to environmental changes. It is important to disseminate knowledge among Ladakh people about this bee to ensure the preservation of its populations.
... Both feeding and nesting facilities are key factors in stabilizing the population of X. valga. The response of the local people towards X. valga has been rather negative in spite of its ecological importance (RAJU & PURNACHANDRA RAO, 2006;KEASAR, 2010). This is primarily because of its potential to damage local, commercial and cultural property besides being physically intimidating. ...
Article
Full-text available
The presence of Xylocopa valga is reported for the first time from the high altitudes of Union Territory of Ladakh (more than 3,000 m above sea level), India. Several bees were observed in the area from May 2019 to September 2020, where it is considered to be a pest because of its aptness for making nests in residential and commercial buildings. The species has likely expanded its geographical area due to environmental changes. It is important to disseminate knowledge among Ladakh people about this bee to ensure the preservation of its populations.
... The larger size of Xylocopa compared to the other WBs may benefit its effectiveness as alfalfa pollinator (Földesi et al., 2020); however specific experiment is needed to test this hypothesis. Xylocopa species are good candidates for alfalfa pollination because of their ability to be active under a wide range of temperature and light conditions (Keasar, 2010), their docile behavior, and their easy acceptance of trap nests (Lucia et al., 2020). In Santiago del Estero, Argentina, X. splendidula and X. atamisquensis (cited as X. ordinaria, Lucia et al., 2014) have been seen tripping between 20 and 30 alfalfa flowers per minute (Ochoa, 1980). ...
Article
Biotic pollination is an essential ecosystem service for agricultural production and is reflected in the high number of crops that depend on insect pollination in order to produce profitable yields. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is a crop whose flowers need to be visited by a bee to be pollinated for seed production, making it highly pollinator-dependent. Two managed bee species are currently used to pollinate this crop: the alfalfa leafcutting bee (ALCB), one of the most efficient alfalfa pollinators, and the honey bee (HB), whose efficiencies could be highly variable among production sites. Besides, there are many other wild bee species (WBs) that are effective polli-nators of alfalfa, but little attention has been placed on them, especially in Argentina, where alfalfa seed production is deficient. Here, we evaluate the contribution of both managed species and WBs on alfalfa pollination services in one of the most important alfalfa seed productive regions of Argentina. During the span of two years, we calculated pollen limitation in different pollinator managed scenarios: with and without ALCBs (ALCB+ and ALCB− , respectively), and we also evaluated the relationship between pollen limitation and all bee species visitation rates. Our results show that the ALCB is a very effective pollinator of alfalfa, since ALCB+ lots have less pollen limitation (32%) compared to ALCB− lots. In contrast, HBs seem to have a detrimental effect in pollination service in ALCB+ lots and a positive effect in ALCB− lots. This differential effect could be due to differences in foraging behavior caused by competition between HBs and ALCBs. Finally, in spite of their low abundances, we found that an increase in WB visitation rates substantially reduces pollen limitation. In spite of ALCBs being a good alfalfa pollinators, the difficulty and cost of managing them hinder its widespread use. The use of WBs seems to be a good alternative, and practices that improve their abundance and diversity should be implemented to improve alfalfa pollination service.
... They also have the ability to buzz-pollinate flowers, making them even more diverse crop pollinators [78]. However, there is a great need for a sufficient breeding program to be developed that involves the selection of genotypes, controlled mating, and nest foundation [79]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Simple Summary: There is a rising demand for food security in the face of threats posed by a growing human population. Bees as an insect play a crucial role in crop pollination alongside other animal pollinators such as bats, birds, beetles, moths, hoverflies, wasps, thrips, and butterflies and other vectors such as wind and water. Bees contribute to the global food supply via pollinating a wide range of crops, including fruits, vegetables, oilseeds, legumes, etc. The economic benefit of bees to food production per year was reported including the cash crops, i.e., coffee, cocoa, almond and soybean, compared to self-pollination. Bee pollination improves the quality and quantity of fruits, nuts, and oils. Bee colonies are faced with many challenges that influence their growth, reproduction , and sustainability, particularly climate change, pesticides, land use, and management strength, so it is important to highlight these factors for the sake of gainful pollination. Citation: Khalifa, S.A.M.; Elshafiey, E.H.; Shetaia, A.A.; El-Wahed, A.A.A.; Algethami, A.F.; Musharraf, S.G.; AlAjmi, M.F.; Zhao, C.; Masry, S.H.D.; Abdel-Daim, M.M.; et al.
Article
In August 2019, Georgians were provided the opportunity to participate in a pollinator census, called the Great Georgia Pollinator Census (https://GGaPC.org). This initiative evolved from two pilot projects conducted in 2017 and 2018. Citizen scientists counted insects and placed them into one of eight insect categories: (1) carpenter bee, Xylocopa sp. (Hymenoptera: Apidae); (2) bumble bee, Bombus sp. (Hymenoptera: Apidae); (3) honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae); (4) small bee (Hymenoptera); (5) wasp (Hymenoptera: Vespidae); (6) fly (Diptera); (7) butterfly or moth (Lepidoptera); or (8) other insects. This project was a yearlong effort that included assisting Georgians in creating sustainable pollinator habitat and increasing participant knowledge of insects and insect-mediated ecosystem services. A sustainable education effort involved the use of a website, newsletters, social media, University of Georgia Extension personnel, and project partners. Over 4,500 participants recorded over 151,000 insect counts in 135 Georgia counties, including 134 schools. Data analysis indicated a significant difference between pollinator counts in rural and urban areas (e.g., carpenter bees were more abundant in urban than in rural areas). Analysis also showed a significant influence of the local presence of honey bee hives on relative proportion of other pollinators as represented in the survey counts.
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There is commercial pressure to permit the introduction of bumble bees to mainland Australia for pollination of tomatoes in greenhouses. Bumble bees do not occur on mainland Australia, and there are indications that the recently introduced Bombus terrestris presents a threat to native ecosystems on Tasmania. In this pilot study, it was investigated whether the native green carpenter bees (Xylocopa (Lestis)) could be used as an alternative to bumble bees for tomato pollination. It is shown that Lestis females will visit and buzz pollinate flowers in a greenhouse and that tomatoes grown from Lestis pollinated flowers are on average heavier and contain more seeds than tomatoes that were not pollinated by Lestis. Therefore, there is potential to use Lestis for tomato pollination once methods for mass rearing the bees have been developed.
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Many agricultural greenhouse crops suffer reduced yields due to insufficient pollination. This problem can be alleviated by introducing efficient pollinating insects into the greenhouse. The bee Xylocopa pubescens Spinola 1838, a candidate for domestication as an agricultural pollinator, is unique in its facultative social organization. Females either nest solitarily, or together with a second female (a non-reproducing guard). Social nesting occurs when food and nest sites are limited, and carries fitness benefits and costs to the bees as compared to solitary nesting. The implications of X pubescens' social organization for crop pollination were investigated. Honeydew melons were grown as a model crop in a small greenhouse. The non-crop plants Portulaca oleracea L, Solanum rantonnetii C, Lavandula angustifolia Mill and Ocimum basilicum L supplemented the bees' diet. Social and solitary X pubescens nesters were introduced into the greenhouse in alternation. The bees' daily activity pattern, the frequency and duration of visits to each flower species, and the run-lengths of consecutive visits to each flower species were recorded. The melons' fruit set, and the fruits' mass and seed number, were determined. Social nesters visited P oleracea more frequently than solitary bees when this species was in bloom. After P oleracea finished blooming, socially nesting bees visited melon more often than solitary nesters. Social bees spent a longer time at the melon patch and tended to be more flower constant than solitary nesters, but spent less time per flower than solitary individuals. Solitary and social bees did not differ in their daily activity patterns and flower visitation rates. Pollination by both types of nesters resulted in similar fruit sets, fruit mass and fruit seed numbers. The dissimilarities in foraging behaviour may reflect differences in the dietary demands of solitary vs social nesters. The similarity in fruit sets and flower constancy suggests that both nest types provide pollination services of similar quality.
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Carpenter bees Xylocopa californica arizonensis in W Texas, gather pollen and "rob' nectar from flowers of ocotillo Fouquieria splendens. When common, carpenter bees are an effective pollen vector for ocotillo. The visitation rate of carpenter bees to ocotillo flowers in 1988 averaged 0.51 visits/flower/h and was four times greater than that of queen bumble bees Bombus pennsylvanicus sonorus, the next most common visitor. Nectar was harvested thoroughly and pollen was removed from the majority of flowers. Pollen grains from larval food provisions were identified from sixteen carpenter bee nests. On average, 53% of pollen grains sampled were ocotillo, 39% were mesquite Prosopis glandulosa and 8% were Zygophyllaceae (Larrea tridentata or Guaiacum angustifolium). Carpenter bee brood size average 5.8 per nest. An average ocotillo plant produced enough pollen and nectar sugar to support the growth of 8-13 bee larvae. Ocotillo thus has the potential to contribute significantly to population growth of one of its key pollinators. -from Authors