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4 October 2019 Habitat Preference and Phenology of Nest Seeking and Foraging Spring Bumble Bee Queens in Northeastern North America (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus)
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Abstract

Bumble bees are among the most abundant and important wild pollinators in North America. Spring nest establishment is a brief and vulnerable stage in the colony life cycle that is poorly understood. Bumble bee nesting activity in temperate North America has received little recent attention, and this knowledge gap is a barrier to conservation efforts. The aim of this study was to investigate the habitat use, nesting phenology, and key food plants of spring bumble bee queens. Through 108 nonlethal surveys of bumble bee queens in spring 2018, researchers observed 451 nest seeking and 555 foraging queens of nine species in Ohio, U.S.A. Spring queen activity began in mid-April and peaked in mid-May, although nest seekers were observed into late June. Nest seeking queens favored woody transitional habitats over open habitats. In accordance queen abundance and diversity increased with the proportion of forest in the surrounding landscape. The proportion of row crops and urban areas negatively influenced queen diversity and the number of nest seekers, respectively. Through a literature review, the earliest emergence dates for each species were compared for 12 datasets to establish an order of species emergence in northeastern North America. Forty-seven species of flowering plants were used by foraging queens. Highly visited food plants included both native and nonnatives(*): Lupinus perennis, Malus spp., Taraxacum officinale*, Lonicera spp.*, Lamium purpureum*, Glechoma hederacea*, Trifolium pratense*, and Mertensia virginica. Systematic field surveys are needed by state to document the timing of spring queen emergence and nesting activities to inform conservation efforts.

Jessie Lanterman, Paige Reeher, Randall J. Mitchell, and Karen Goodell "Habitat Preference and Phenology of Nest Seeking and Foraging Spring Bumble Bee Queens in Northeastern North America (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Bombus)," The American Midland Naturalist 182(2), 131-159, (4 October 2019). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031-182.2.131
Received: 5 February 2019; Accepted: 21 June 2019; Published: 4 October 2019
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