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ECOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR OF INSECT POLLINATORS AND PREDATORS

Investigators
O`neill, Ke, .
Institutions
Montana State University
Start date
2021
End date
2026
Objective
My objectives fall into two main categories: l ) documentation of the diversity of solitary nest­ provisioning bees and wasps and 2) biological studies of solitary nest-provisioning bees and wasps, with implications for population management and the health of bees and wasps.Sphecidae and Crabronidae of Montana (O'Neill, Ivie). There has been a long and productive history of entomological research in Montana, both applied and basic, going back to the early 1900s and including work done by Montana State University and U.S.D .A entomologists .However, due to the relatively small ratio of entomologists to land area compared to many other states, much of the ecologically- and agriculturally-important insect fauna here remains undocumented . Opportunities exist to remedy this with further field sampling and with curation and compilation of information available from specimens currently present in the Montana Entomology Collection at Montana State University (MTEC) (M. Ivie, personal communication). Objective: to use the existing specimens in the MTEC as well as new materials collected to compile a fauna list and ecological database of sphecid and crabronid species of Montana.Cavity-nesting bees and wasps of Gallatin Valley and surrounding submontane areas (0'Neill, Delphia). Cavity-nesters are a subset of nest-provisioning bees and wasps that construct nests by modifying existing cavities that might be natural (e.g., tunnels left behind by wood boring insects) or associated with human structures (e.g., gaps in the wood-siding of human structures) . Researchers have also taken advantage of the fact that cavity­ nesting species readily nest in materials referred to as trap-nests .rap-nests can be made by bundling sections of hollow plant stems together, but the more common method nowadays is to drill tunnels in wood blocks that are then placed in habitats likely to be occupied by cavity-nesting species; increasingly, this seems to be most habitats. Their actual construction will be described below. Objective: to document diversity and seasonal activity patterns of cavity-nesting solitary bees and wasps the Gallatin Valley and surrounding mountains.Trap-nests will be placed in a diversity of habitats in the areas including agricultural,horticultural, urban/suburban areas, riparian areas, and submontane areas of National Forests east and south of the valley. Species trapped will likely include members of the families, as well as natural enemies of the insect families Chrysididae, Ichneumonidae, Leucospidae, Megachilidae, Cleridae, Phoridae, and Sarcophagidae. Note that the results of this work dovetail with the previous objective because the same traps will yieldboth types of data .Orchid bees (Apidae: Euglossini) of Belize As noted above, the bee fauna of Belize remains under-studied. This is the case, despite its proximity to the U.S. and the potentially high diversity of species (Moure et al. 2012). Though doable with sufficient resources, it would be a massive undertaking to catalogue all of the bees of Belize. Therefore, we have been focusing at this time on orchid bees (not to be confused with orchard bees). Objectives: 1) continue our survey the orchid bee species of Belize, 2) assess their distribution and abundance in relation to latitude, elevation, mean annual precipitation, and the presence of agricultural activities, and 3) document the best chemical baits needed to attract each species to traps. The results will provide a biogeographic knowledge-base for future studies that could identify changes in distribution and relative abundance of orchid bees resulting from changes in climate and land-use patterns. In addition, information on bait associations will improve the efficiency of future sampling programs . This research will be conducted during the late-wet and early dry seasons of Belize (mainly during December), so will not interfere with our Montana field seasons or with lab experiments undertaken mainly in late Spring.The behavior and ecology of solitary bees and wasps (O'Neill, Delphia, Spendal). This component of the research will have three parts. The first, associated with the trap-nesting study in the Gallatin Valley, is to increase our understanding of the trophic relationships associated with trap-nesting bees and wasps. Objectives: document 1) prey used by different species of wasps and 2) the parasitoids, predators, and brood parasites attacking bee and wasp species within nests.Objectives: 1) determine the relationship of post-diapause rearing temperatures to rate of development, survival, sex ratio, body masses, and body lipid content of emerging adults inthe laboratory, 2) estimate the minimum and maximum rearing temperatures that allow completion of development, and 3) identify the spring rearing-temperatu res that result in the shortest post-diapause development period (which would reduce the time during which developing wasps are vulnerable to parasitic wasps). Though focused at this time on a single species, we argue that it provides a model for understanding strategies for rearing trap-nesting wasps from a natural population. It is also possible that our trap-nesting studies in the Gallatin Valley will reveal other locally abundant species amenable to this focal research.The third objective is an extension of objective of the Isodontia study. The push to convince homeowners to use trap-nests to provide nesting habitat for cavity-nesting bees and wasps comes with pitfalls associated with how the nests are treated by non-experts after the nesting season is completed. How should the nests be stored until the next spring and summer when a new generation of adult should emerge? Objective: determine the general storage conditions (among those likely to be used by homeowners) that result the highest adult emergence success of cavity-nesting bees. For this, I will use the managed species M. rotundata in order to achieve sufficient sample sizes.Effects of neonicotinoids on ground-nesting bees (Slominski, O'Neill, Peterson). This project Jed will be led by Dr. Anthony Slominski , a post-doctoral associate working in my lab and funded by a grant he received from USDA-NIFA, with me acting as official mentor. Objective 1:to investigate the lethal and sub-lethal pre- and post-emergence effects of exposure of ground-nesting bees to neonicotinoid (imidacloprid)-contaminated soil prior to adult emergence. The research will investigate the lethal and sublethal effects of exposure of prepupae of bees to a the neonicotinoid insecticide. To date, the effects of the pesticide have been tested with species of bees that do not nest in soil (mainly honey bees). Unfortunately, it is not easy to obtain large samples of developing eggs, larvae, prepupae, and pupae of soil-nesting species, particularly in this area. Therefore, we will be using two cavity-nesting species, 0. lignaria and M. rotundata as surrogates, removing them from cavity nests and placing them in artificial "brood cells" made from soil infused with imidacloprid. The two species will provide a useful comparison because the first overwinters as adults, while the latter overwinters as prepupae. Objective 2: to investigate the influence of rearing temperature on bees exposed to imidacloprid during post-diapause development. There are several rationales for this part of the proj ect. First, temperature varies with the depth of brood cells in soil, so certain temperatures might either enhance or reduce the effect of the pesticide. Second, climate change could result in increased soil temperatures and therefore influence the effect of the pesticide on developing bees.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
MONB00160
Accession number
1026212
Categories
Pesticide Residues
Chemical Contaminants