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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Queen buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris survival through artificial hibernation is affected by initial weight and treatment length; laboratory experiments at University of Amsterdam, Noord Holland, the Netherlands

Published source details

Beekman M., van Stratum P. & Lingeman R. (1998) Diapause survival and post-diapause performance in bumblebee queens (Bombus terrestris). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 89, 207-214

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Rear declining bumblebees in captivity Bee Conservation

Beekman et al. (1998) tested the effects of different artificial hibernation regimes (temperatures from -5 to 15°C, durations from 1 to 8 months) on 2,210 queen B. terrestris from laboratory-reared colonies in the Netherlands. A queen's initial weight and the duration of hibernation strongly affected survival, but the temperature did not. Queens should weigh more than 0.6 g (wet weight) and be hibernated for four months or less to have a good chance of surviving. Queens weighing less than 0.6 g before hibernation did not survive, but above this threshold, initial weight did not affect survival. Few queens survived hibernation periods of 6 and 8 months (8.5%, compared to 83% of queens hibernated for one, two and four months). Neither temperature, weight nor length of hibernation affected a queen's ability to lay eggs after surviving hibernation.