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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Bumblebees of six species Bombus sp. induced to start colonies in wooden nest boxes; laboratory experiments at the Entomological Laboratory of the Bussey Institute (Harvard University), Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Published source details

Plath O.E. (1923) Breeding experiments with confined Bremus (Bombus) queens. Biological Bulletin of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, 45, 325-341

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Rear declining bumblebees in captivity Bee Conservation

Plath (1923) induced six different species of native North American bumblebee queens to lay eggs and rear colonies of adults, by confining spring queens with one to three bumblebee workers in dark wooden nest boxes supplied with honey bee-collected pollen and diluted honey. These six species included the half-black bumblebee B. vagans, thought to be declining in the USA. Five other species treated the same way laid eggs but did not rear colonies because the larvae died. Four of the species that could not be reared are also declining or thought to be declining in the United States: the rusty-patched bumblebee B. affinis, the yellow-banded bumblebee B. terricola, the American bumblebee B. pensylvanicus and the yellow bumblebee B. fervidus. The latter two species are reported to be pocket-makers (Kearns & Thomson 2001).