The Effect of Pollen Diet Composition and Quantity on Diapause Survival and Performance in an Annual Pollinator (Bombus Impatiens)

E. D. Treanore, A. V. Ramos-Medero, J. Garcia, E. Amsalem

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Most pollination services are provided by annual bees that go through a winter diapause, during which they are exposed to extreme temperatures, pathogens, and starvation. The ability of bees to successfully face these stressors during diapause and subsequently initiate a nest depends on their overall nutritional state and an adequate preparatory diet. Here, we used queens of the common eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens, to examine how pollen diets varying in their protein to lipid ratio and total nutrient amounts affected queen performance during and after diapause. We compared diapause survival and reproductive performance post-diapause across different diets and found that queen survival was highest when pollen had a nutritional ratio of approximately 5:1 (protein to lipid). This diet is significantly enriched in proteins compared to the pollen fed to bumble bees in the lab (1:1) or commonly available in agricultural landscapes. Altering the quantity of macronutrients within this ratio did not improve survival or performance. Our results emphasize the importance of adequate nutrition for diapause performance in bees with annual life cycles and the importance of providing annual bees with floral provisioning based on their individual nutritional targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberobad0141
JournalIntegrative Organismal Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Plant Science

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