Alfalfa leafcutter bee


Alfalfa leafcutter bee

Taxobox
name = Alfalfa Leafcutter Bee



regnum = Animalia
phylum = Arthropoda
classis = Insecta
ordo = Hymenoptera
familia = Megachilidae
subfamilia = Megachilinae
tribus = Megachilini
genus = "Megachile"
subgenus = "Eutricharaea"
species = "M. rotundata"
binomial = "Megachile rotundata"
binomial_authority = (Fabricius, 1787)

The Alfalfa Leafcutter Bee ("Megachile rotundata") is a European species of bee that has been cultured in the United States for pollination purposes and has also become feral and widespread. As a solitary but gregarious bee species, it does not build colonies or store honey, but is a very efficient pollinator of alfalfa seed, carrot seed, and some other vegetables.cite journal | first = Susan | last = Milius | year = 2007 | month = January 6 | title = Most Bees Live Alone: No hives, no honey, but maybe help for crops | journal = Science News | volume = 171 | issue = 1 | pages = 11–3 | accessdate = 2007-01-15]

Alfalfa leafcutter bees have stingers, but they often use their mandibles as a defensive mechanism, and only defend themselves when squeezed. Thus bee suits, such as those required with honey bees, are not necessary when dealing with leafcutter bees. The ratio of males to females is generally one to one.

Females in the wild create nests in small holes in the ground or in available cracks/crevices in trees or buildings. The nests are composed of a string of individual cells, as many as the space will allow. When managed for pollination, the females are induced to nest in drinking straws or drilled blocks of wood.

Each cell is made from circular disks cut from plant leaves using the bee's mandibles, hence the name "leafcutter". While the bees do not store honey, females do collect pollen which they store in the cells of their nests. Each cell contains one pollen ball and one egg. The larva develops rapidly, consuming the pollen ball and entering hibernation when the pollen is fully consumed. The next spring, the mature larva pupates and completes its development. Once the bee is developed it cuts its way out from the nest. The incubation period is approximately 30 days and requires a constant temperature of greater than 30°C (86°F).

References

External links

* [http://www.actahort.org/books/288/288_25.htm Effectiveness of the alfalfa leafcutter bee as a pollinator of legume forage crops] (ISHS membership required)
* [http://wildblueberries.maine.edu/factsheets/Production/300.html How To Manage Alfalfa Leaf Cutting Bees for Wild Blueberry Pollination]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alfalfa — This article is about plant and flower. For the actor and character of the series Our Gang, see Carl Alfalfa Switzer. For the community in Central Oregon, see Alfalfa, Oregon. Alfalfa Medicago sativa …   Wikipedia

  • Bee — Taxobox name = Bees image width = 200px image caption = Honeybee ( Apis mellifera ) collecting pollen regnum = Animalia phylum = Arthropoda classis = Insecta ordo = Hymenoptera subordo = Apocrita superfamilia = Apoidea unranked genus = Anthophila …   Wikipedia

  • Megachile rotundata — Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum …   Wikipedia

  • Luzerne cultivée — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Luzerne. Medicago sativa …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Megachile — Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum …   Wikipedia

  • Pollination management — is the label for horticultural practices that accomplish or enhance pollination of a crop, to improve yield or quality, by understanding of the particular crop s pollination needs, and by knowledgeable management of pollenizers, pollinators, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Saturation pollination — is a pollination technique for agricultural crops in areas dominated by non crop plant species that are preferred by pollinators. The technique involves keeping a larger number of bee colonies than normally maintained for honey production so as… …   Wikipedia

  • Pollination — Carpenter bee with pollen collected from Night blooming cereus …   Wikipedia

  • Abeille découpeuse — Megachile rotundata Mégachile rotundata …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Megachile Rotundata — Mégachile rotundata …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.