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1 August 2014 Bee Species-Specific Nesting Material Attracts a Generalist Parasitoid: Implications for Co-Occurring Bees in Nest Box Enhancements
J. Scott Macivor, Baharak Salehi
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Artificial nests (e.g., nest boxes) for bees are increasingly being used to contribute to nesting habitat enhancement for bees that use preexisting cavities to provision brood. They usually incorporate additional nesting materials that vary by species. Cavity-nesting bees are susceptible to brood parasitoids that recognize their host (s) using visual and chemical cues. Understanding the range of cues that attract parasitoids to bee nests, including human-made analogues, is important if we wish to control parasitism and increase the potential value of artificial nests as habitat-enhancement strategies. In this study, we investigated the cues associated with the orientation of the generalist brood parasitoid Monodontomerus obscurus Westwood (Hymenoptera: Torymidae) to the nests of a common cavity-nesting resin bee Megachile campanulae (Robertson) (Megachilidae). The parasitoids were reared from previously infested M. campanulae brood cells and placed into choice trials where they were presented with pairs of different nest material cues. Among different materials tested, we found that Mo. obscurus was most attracted to fresh resin collected directly from Pinus strobus trees followed by previously used resin collected from the bee nest. The parasitoid also attacked other bee species in the same nest boxes, including those that do not use resin for nesting. Our findings suggest that M. campanulae could act as a magnet, drawing parasites away from other bee hosts co-occurring in nest boxes, or, as an attractant of Mo. obscurus to nest boxes, increasing attacks on co-occurring host bee species, potentially undermining bee diversity enhancement initiatives.

© 2014 Entomological Society of America
J. Scott Macivor and Baharak Salehi "Bee Species-Specific Nesting Material Attracts a Generalist Parasitoid: Implications for Co-Occurring Bees in Nest Box Enhancements," Environmental Entomology 43(4), 1027-1033, (1 August 2014).
Received: 24 August 2013; Accepted: 1 May 2014; Published: 1 August 2014

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