Individual study: Captive rearing of buff-tailed bumblebee queens Bombus terrestris dalmatinus; second generation colonies are larger in laboratory studies at the University of Akdeniz, Antalya, Turkey
Gurel F. & Gosterit A. (2009) The suitability of native Bombus terrestris dalmatinus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) queen for mass rearing. Journal of Apicultural Science, 53, 67-73
Bumblebees Bombus spp. are declining in Europe and America and captive rearing is one strategy to augment or re-introduce populations. Buff-tailed bumblebees are mass-reared commercially for pollination, mostly using the Mediterranean subspecies Bombus terrestris dalmatinus. This study tests standard commercial rearing techniques for this subspecies over two generations, in laboratory studies at the University of Akdeniz, Antalya, Turkey.
Fifty naturally mated queens were collected from flowers on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey in autumn 2006. Each was anaesthetized with CO2 for 30 minutes, then placed in a small box with newly emerged B. terrestris workers. Once the first brood of new workers emerged, colonies were transferred to larger boxes. Both boxes were kept at 28° C and 60% relative humidity, under red light, with pollen and sugar water freely supplied.
Twenty-seven second generation queens were produced from the original 50 queens. 64% of first generation queens and 81% of second generation queens laid eggs. Seventy-four percent of second generation queens formed colonies of more than 10 workers, a significantly larger proportion than the 46% of first generation queens that did so.