Native bumble bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) pollinators vary in floral resource use across an invasion gradient

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Authors: Gillespie, SD; Bayley, J; Elle, E
Year: 2017
Journal: Canadian Entomologist 149: 204-213   Article Link (DOI)
Title: Native bumble bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) pollinators vary in floral resource use across an invasion gradient
Abstract: Integration of pollinator-dependent invasive plants into native pollination networks can have direct and indirect effects on local plant and pollinator communities. Impacts on local plants are well documented; however effects on native pollinators have gained less attention. We examine these issues in habitat fragments of the endangered oak-savannah ecosystem in British Columbia, Canada. We measured pollen collection by native bumble bees (Bombus Latreille; Hymenoptera: Apidae) and the introduced honey bee (Apis mellifera Linnaeus; Hymenoptera: Apidae) foraging on two common native plants in habitat fragments with varying invasive (Cytisus scoparius (Linnaeus) Link; Fabaceae) density. The Bombus species with the largest workers had higher proportions of invasive pollen on their bodies and in their corbiculae than smaller workers. Honey bees rarely collected C. scoparius pollen. While some native bumble bees species collect an increasing proportion of C. scoparius pollen with increasing C. scoparius density, this did not translate into an increased potential for pollination. Rather, measures of effective pollination decline with C. scoparius density. Overall, our results suggest that some bee species may be better at finding resources at highly invaded sites. Apis mellifera is likely not playing a major role in facilitating the spread of C. scoparius in our region. Rather C. scoparius is visited by a complement of native bumble bees that are similar to pollinators in the native range of this plant.
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