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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Laboratory-reared buff-tailed bumblebee colonies Bombus terrestris released in Stirling, Scotland produce some workers but no new queens

Published source details

Whitehorn P.R., Tinsley M.C., Brown M.J.F., Darvill B. & Goulson D. (2009) Impacts of inbreeding on bumblebee colony fitness under field conditions. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 9, 152


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

Reintroduce laboratory-reared bumblebee colonies to the wild Bee Conservation

Whitehorn et al. (2009) placed 36 laboratory-reared colonies of B. terrestris (non-native subspecies, probably terrestris or dalmatinus)in field conditions at the University of Stirling, Scotland, from when they had 15 workers until the founding queen died. The experiment included inbred colonies and colonies with diploid males. Normal colonies (no diploid males) produced a total of 30-31 workers on average, but no new queens. Sixteen outbred colonies survived for an average of 4.5 weeks, but did not produce new queens.

Rear declining bumblebees in captivity Bee Conservation

Whitehorn et al. (2009) reared colonies of B. terrestris from 210 commercially-reared queens by confining queens alone, under standard rearing conditions, following artificial hibernation for 47 days at 6°C. Ninety-three queens (44%) survived artificial hibernation and 47 of them (51% of those surviving hibernation) founded colonies with at least one offspring.