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Apidologie

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 315–323 | Cite as

A native ground-nesting bee (Nomia melanderi) sustainably managed to pollinate alfalfa across an intensively agricultural landscape

  • James H. CaneEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

The world’s only intensively managed ground-nesting bee, the alkali bee (Nomia melanderi Cockerell), has been used for >50 years as an effective pollinator of alfalfa (Medicago saliva L.) grown for seed in the western USA. Across a 240 km2 watershed in Washington, the 24 most populous of 56 nest sites found were annually surveyed for nesting bees for 8 years. Alkali bees multiplied 9-fold to 17 million females, the largest reported metapopulation of non-social bees. Several sites have remained populous for an unprecedented 50 years. The most populous nesting bed (1.5 ha) grew to 5.3 million nesting females (median = 278 nests/m2), the largest bee nesting aggregation ever recorded. This first-ever exhaustive landscape-level survey for any non-social bee reveals that even amid intensive conventional agriculture, a native bee can sustainably multiply to vast numbers, its nesting aggregations persisting for decades.

Apiformes crop Halictidae Medicago pollinator 

Utilisation durable d’une abeille indigène qui nidifie dans le sol (Nomia melanderi) pour polliniser la luzerne dans un paysage d’agriculture intensive

Halictidae abeille solitaire pollinisation culture luzerne écologie du paysage nidification grégaire dynamique populations 

Nachhaltige Nutzung einer bodennistenden Biene (Nomia melanderi) als Bestäuber in einer landwirtschaftlich intensiv genutzten Region

Zusammenfassung

Die Alkalibiene (Nomia melanderi) ist die weltweit einzige bodennistende Biene, die intensiv genutzt wird. Im Westen der USA wird sie seit über 50 Jahren als effizienter Bestäuber für Alfalfa (Medicago saliva L.) gehalten. In dem 240 km2 grossen Touchet Tal, einer Alfalfa-Anbauregion im Staat Washington (Abb. 1), wurden die 24 populationsstärksten der 56 Nestaggregationen (Abb. 5) zwischen 1999 und 2006 in jährlichen Bestandsaufnahmen begutachtet (Abb. 6). Das Tal, das mit 2000–4000 ha an Alfalfa-Blütenfläche 1/4 der gesamten US-Produktion darstellt, wies innerhalb dieser acht Jahre einen neunfachen Anstieg in der Zahl an Alkalibienen auf (Abb. 4). Im Jahr 2006 wurden 17 Millionen Weibchen in dichten Nestaggregationen auf knapp 20 ha Talweite registriert (Abb. 2 und 3). Dies stellt damit die nachgewiesenermaßen grösste Metapopulation nichtsozialer Bienen dar, und mehrere Populationen sind seit über 50 Jahren und damit wesenlich länger registriert als andere Aggregationen von Bienennestern. Das am dichtesten besiedelte Nestbett mit 1,5 ha wuchs in dieser Zeit auf 5,3 Millionen nistender Weibchen an. Mit einer Dichte von über 1000 Nestern/m2 ist dies die grösste zahlenmässig erfasste Aggregation von Bienennestern. Die Pflegepraxis für die Haltung der Alkalibienen beinhaltet: angemessene Bewässerung der Nistflächen, Ausbringung von Salz auf der Bodenoberfläche und Unkrautentfernung, Bereitstellung einer adäquaten Alfalfablüte in Nestnähe, teilweise Parasitenkontrolle und bienensichere Praxis in der Ausbringung von Insektiziden. Lediglich eine nichtangemessene Bewässerung führte im Beobachtungszeitraum zu Verlusten inerhalb der Nistpopulationen. Diese umfassende regionalweite Bestandsaufnahme zeigte, dass eine gregäre einheimische Biene selbst in einem intensiv konventionell bewirtschafteten Landschaftsraum einen erheblichen Anstieg in den Individuenzahlen aufwies, und dass sich die Populationen für zumindest ein halbes Jahrhundert stabil hielten.

Apiformes Nutzpflanzen Halictidae Medicago Bestäuber 

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Copyright information

© Springer S+B Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA, Bee Biology and Systematics LabUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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