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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Use of above-ground nest boxes by bumblebee species and translocation of red-belted bumblebee Bombus rufocinctus colonies, near Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Published source details

Hobbs G.A., , & Nummi W.O. (1960) Establishment of Bombus spp. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in artificial domiciles in Southern Alberta. The Canadian Entomologist, 92, 868-872


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Translocate bumblebee colonies in nest boxes Bee Conservation

An unspecified number of red-belted bumblebee Bombus rufocinctus colonies in wooden nest boxes were translocated an unspecified distance from their original site to a crop field, in southern Alberta, Canada, once the first brood of workers had begun foraging (Hobbs et al. 1960). Some workers were lost and queens began foraging for nectar. Two queens were killed as a result of returning to the wrong nest. Colonies that were moved raised an average of four new queen cocoons (range 4-9), while colonies that were not moved raised on average 22 new queen cocoons (range 17-27).

Provide artificial nest sites for bumblebees Bee Conservation

A trial of 500 above ground wooden nest boxes near Lethbridge in southern Alberta, Canada, found that over 10% of boxes placed in uncultivated gardens, beside fence posts on prairie, or along copses were used (Hobbs et al. 1960). Upholsterer's cotton was used as bedding. Boxes placed in long grass were not used. Seven species used the nest boxes, including B. rufocinctus and B. fervidus, both thought to be declining in parts of North America, and the Western bumblebee B. occidentalis (one nest only),which has undergone dramatic range contraction recently (B. occidentalis may be a Western variant of another species Bombus terricola rather than a species in its own right - see www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/bombus/bo.html).Two important alfalfa crop pollinators in Alberta - the yellow-banded bumblebee B. terricola and the red-belted or tri-colored bumblebee B. ternarius - did not use the boxes.