, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 689–703 | Cite as

Methods for rearing ground-nesting bees under laboratory conditions

  • Ryan J. LeonardEmail author
  • Alexandra N. Harmon-Threatt
Review article


Ground-nesting bees are largely undervalued, both in terms of their use as model species for behavioural studies, and in terms of their agricultural benefit as pollinators in crop systems. But, why? One potential barrier limiting their use as model species may be our understanding of how to effectively establish and maintain ground-nesting bees in the laboratory. Here we review how artificial nests are used to study ground-nesting bees and provide guidelines for building, starting and maintaining artificial nests. Ultimately, appropriate design and maintenance of artificial nests will allow researchers to explore a suite of interesting questions related to this important group of pollinating insects, from natural history to the origins of eusociality and the effects of environmental contaminants.


ground-nesting bee artificial nest rearing Lasioglossum 



The authors thank Jim Cane, Katja Hogendoorn, T’ai Roulston and Quinn McFrederick for advice regarding ground-nesting bee rearing and maintenance. The authors also thank Caitlyn Drayton-Taylor, Nick Anderson, Katie Barie, Scott Clem, Jon Tetlie, Anna Grommes and Benjamin Chiavini for feedback during manuscript preparation.

Authors contribution

RJL and A.N.T-H conceived and wrote review. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding information

Ryan J. Leonard is funded USAD NIFA 2018-67013-27537.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13592_2019_679_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
ESM 1. (DOCX 21 kb)


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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