Laboratory rearing of two native species of bumblebee, Bombus lucorum and B.ignitus, in Beijing, China
Li J. et al. (2008) Comparison of the colony development of two native bumblebee species Bombus ignitus and Bombus lucorum as candidates for commercial pollination in China. Journal of Apicultural Research and Bee World, 47, 22-26.
Bumblebees Bombus spp. are declining in Europe and
150 B. ignitus queens and 200 B. lucorum queens were collected in the field in early May 2004-2006. They were induced to form colonies (methods not given) and kept in a rearing room lit with a red lamp, at 28-29°C and 60-65% relative humidity. Colonies were fed with 50% sugar solution and pollen collected from honey bees using pollen traps.
40 randomly chosen colonies of each species were monitored throughout their development and numbers of workers and queens counted.
Newly reared queens aged 5-10 days were transferred to an 80 cm3 flight cage with males aged 6-11 days, kept at 24-25°C. These were fed on 50% sucrose solution provided in vertical feeders, and pollen from rape Brassica campestris and apricot Prunus armenica, both replaced every other day.
84% of B. ignitus queens and 89% of B. lucorum queens laid eggs. The colonies produced 105-107 workers/colony on average, ranging from 19 to 240 workers, with no difference between species. B. lucorum colonies produced significantly more queens (average 121 queens/colony) than B. ignitus (average 55 queens/colony).
75% of new B. lucorum queens successfully copulated, compared with 35% of new B. ignitus queens.
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