• Lower pollen nutritional quality delays nest building and egg laying in Bombus terrestris audax micro-colonies leading to reduced biomass gain

      Ryder, Jordan T.; Cherrill, Andrew; Thompson, Helen M.; Walters, Keith F. A.; orcid: 0000-0002-5262-3125; email: kwalters@ic.ac.uk (Springer Paris, 2021-09-27)
      Abstract: The performance of Bombus terrestris micro-colonies fed five diets differing in pollen species composition and level of nine essential amino acids (EAA; leucine, lysine, valine, arginine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, threonine, histidine, methionine) was assessed for 37 days by recording total biomass gain, nest building initiation, brood production (eggs, small and large larvae, pupae, drones), nectar, and pollen collection. Stronger colony performance was linked to higher amino acid levels but no consistent differences in biomass gain were recorded between mono- and poly-species diets. Poorest performance occurred in micro-colonies offered pure oilseed rape (OSR) pollen which contained the lowest EAA levels. Reduced micro-colony development (delayed nest initiation and lower brood production) was related to OSR proportion in the diet and lower EAA levels. Results are discussed in relation to selection of plant species in the design of habitats to promote bee populations.