A review of methods for captive rearing and managing solitary bees Osmia spp. for pollination purposes

  • Published source details Bosch J. & Kemp W.P. (2002) Developing and establishing bee species as crop pollinators: the example of Osmia spp. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) and fruit trees. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 92, 3-16


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rear and manage populations of solitary bees

Action Link
Bee Conservation

Rear and manage populations of solitary bees

Action Link
Bee Conservation
  1. Rear and manage populations of solitary bees

    Bosch & Kemp (2002) review methods that have been developed for rearing three species of mason bee now used as orchard pollinators in Japan, USA and Europe respectively: Osmia cornifrons, O. lignaria, and O. cornuta. All three species will nest in holes drilled in wood or polystyrene, grooved wood or polystyrene boards stacked together, paper or cardboard tubes or reed stem sections. If nest cavities are too narrow or too short, more males will be reared. Temperature regimes are important to survival through four of the seven developmental stages identified: development (egg to adult, including dormant pre-pupal phase), pre-wintering, wintering and incubation prior to emergence. Responses to temperatures differ between species, and between populations from different areas within species. These should be experimentally studied to develop an effective rearing regime.

  2. Rear and manage populations of solitary bees

    A review of captive-rearing methods developed for orchard bees in the genus Osmia reports evidence that female populations have been increased by 2- to 3-fold for O. cornifrons and 5-fold for O. lignaria in orchards, in years with good weather and fruit tree flowering (Bosch & Kemp 2002). Poor weather during flowering or short blooming periods can lead to population losses (no experimental evidence reported).

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