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1 December 2005 Emergence Success and Sex Ratio of Commercial Alfalfa Leafcutting Bees from the United States and Canada
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Samples of overwintering alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), cells were sent to the laboratory as loose cells or in nesting boards from bee managers in the United States and in Canada. X-radiographs of cells were used for determining cell contents. Cells containing live prepupae were incubated, and the sex of emerging adults was recorded daily. Cells from which no adult emerged were dissected to determine the developmental stage of dead bees and sex of dead pupae or adults. Bee cells incubated in commercial settings and placed in alfalfa fields by the same bee managers described above also were evaluated to determine adult emergence success. The proportion of live bees in wood nesting boards from the United States was much lower than the live proportion in polystyrene nesting boards from Canada and loose cells overwintered in the United States. For laboratory-incubated loose cells, survival and sex ratios of bees from Canadian sources were statistically higher than those of U.S. bees, but the onset and duration of emergence times were similar. Fewer bees survived in the commercial setting than in the laboratory. Prepupal mortality was significantly higher than pupal or adult mortality, but there was no significant difference between the sexes in the likelihood of survival during incubation. This study supports the commonly held belief that alfalfa leafcutting bees raised in Canada and then sold to the United States represent a more viable source of bees than most bees produced in the United States.

Theresa L. Pitts-Singer and Rosalind R. James "Emergence Success and Sex Ratio of Commercial Alfalfa Leafcutting Bees from the United States and Canada," Journal of Economic Entomology 98(6), 1785-1790, (1 December 2005).
Received: 16 May 2005; Accepted: 1 July 2005; Published: 1 December 2005

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