SOME BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF BUMBLE BEE (BOMBUS, HYMENOPTERA) MANAGEMENT

V. Ptácek
When bumblebee colonies are started in a laboratory, hibernated queens can mature in darkness under laboratory temperature for a week and then be transferred into rearing containers supplied with pollen and sugar solution. To initiate egg laying in B. terrestris several methods are possible. If cocoons from other colonies are added, they should be preferably young to enable queens to develop proper brooding conditions during the long period of cocoon incubation. When male cocoons are used, imagoes should be removed immediately after their emergence and empty cocoons changed for a new portion if the queen still has not laid eggs. Using worker cocoons, a danger exists that workers may convert to egg layers if they emerge too soon. To avoid this problem, queens should be solitary during the period so they can care for the youngest brood. In feeding larvae queens, development reaches the level of allowing addition of one or two young workers. Nest-searching queens from nature regularly accept cocoons and the other main points remain the same. If no other possibility exists, two queens may be left together until the dominant one begins laying eggs. The subordinate queen must be removed soon thereafter or she will be killed. Further levels of subordinated couples are possible.
B. terrestris colony growth under laboratory conditions leads to an earlier switch point and less populated colonies whereas colonies reared under natural environmental conditions produced young queens and males together for a long period. Queen production is larger in externally reared colonies, but attacks by enemies make this method less effective. Queenlessness (either natural or artificial) of a colony results in the conversion from worker to queen development in eggs and young larvae.
The double queen method enables the starting of colonies in the laboratory for the pocket maker in species B. pascuorum. In such cases, pollen pellets must be inserted into pockets of the brood cells until first workers emerge. Then colonies can develop outside and obtain supplementary feeding to enhance worker and queen production.
Young queens of B. terrestris and B. pasquorum consume large quantities of pollen during the first 4 days after emergence. Starting from the 5th - 6th day they leave the colony for mating. They usually copulate only once and during the consecutive 2 days they fill their honey stomach and are ready to leave the colony and enter hibernation.
Ptácek, V. (2001). SOME BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF BUMBLE BEE (BOMBUS, HYMENOPTERA) MANAGEMENT. Acta Hortic. 561, 279-286
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2001.561.42
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2001.561.42
Bombus, bumblebee, Hymenoptera, rearing
English

Acta Horticulturae