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Individual study: Nest boxes for solitary bees should be 150 to 600 m from forage plants; field experiments near Mannheim and Göttingen, Germany

Published source details

Gathmann A. & Tscharntke T. (2002) Foraging ranges of solitary bees. Journal of Animal Ecology, 71, 757-764


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

Provide nest boxes for bees (solitary bees or bumblebees) Farmland Conservation

A replicated trial in 1997 of reed Phragmites australis stem nest boxes at 15 different agricultural sites near Göttingen in Lower Saxony, Germany (Gathmann & Tscharntke 2002) (same study as (Steffan-Dewenter 2002)) found nest boxes had a 50% chance of being occupied by two specialized (oligolectic) species of bee (Apidae) - Chelostoma rapunculi and Megachile lapponica - at a distance of 256-260 m from a patch of their required forage plants. The study also found that female solitary bees of four medium to large European species Andrena barbilabris, A. flavipes, A. vaga and the red mason bee Osmia rufa have a maximum foraging range between 150 to 600 m, so nest boxes have to be placed within this distance of forage resources. There was no colonization of nest boxes by C. rapunculi more than 300 m from a patch of its food plant, bellflowers Campanula spp.. Nest boxes consisted of 150-180 stem sections of common reed, with diameters of 2-10 mm, 15-20 cm-long and put in 10-13 cm diameter plastic tubes or tins. Reed-filled tubes were attached to 1.5 m-long wooden posts above the ground, with four nest boxes to a post. Two posts (eight nest boxes) were placed at 15 different sites from April to October. Patches of bellflower and willowherb Epilobium spp. were recorded in a 1 km radius from the nest boxes at each site. Nesting females (141 individuals) of the four other solitary bee species were marked, then moved in darkened boxes 50 to 2000 m away from their nests. Returning individuals were recorded. This experiment was run on sandy grasslands near Mannheim in 1995, and on chalk grasslands near Göttingen in 1997, between 10:00 h and 18:00 h on sunny days during the main flight period for each bee species.

 

Provide artificial nest sites for solitary bees Bee Conservation

In the same study, separately reported (Gathmann & Tscharntke 2002), nest boxes had a 50% chance of being occupied by two specialised (oligolectic) species of bee - Chelostoma rapunculi and Megachile lapponica - at a distance of 256-260 m from a patch of their required forage plants. There was no colonization of nest boxes by C. rapunculi more than 300 m from a patch of its food plant, bellflowers Campanula spp..

Provide artificial nest sites for solitary bees Bee Conservation

Gathmann & Tshcarntke (2002) used translocation experiments to estimate that female solitary bees of four medium to large European species - Andrena barbilabris, A. flavipes, A. vaga and the red mason bee Osmia rufa - have a maximum foraging range between 150 to 600 m, so nest boxes have to be placed within this distance of forage resources.