Colony developmental patterns in different local populations of the Turkish bumble bee, Bombus Terrestris dalmatinus
Halil Yeninar; Marie José Duchateau; Osman Kaftanoglu; Hayo Velthusis
As a preliminary to the use of bumble bee colonies in greenhouse pollination in Turkey, research was initiated on the relevant characteristics of the native bumble bee Bombus terrestris dalmatinus. The same methodology was used that has been successful in the rearing of B. t. terrestris colonies. Queens were collected in four coastal localities (Bodrum, Antalya, Alata and Adana) and characterized by the different dates of the young queen's emergence from diapause. This emergence varied from the end of November to February. Despite the variation in collecting dates, the patterns of development of the colonies produced were similar, indicating that, in this respect, no ecotypes existed. As in B. t. terrestris, the relative timing of the switch point, i.e. when mainly haploid eggs are laid by the queen, is the determining factor for the number of workers and the investment sex ratio of the B. t. dalmatinus colonies. The colonies of these two subspecies develop according to the same principles. The colonies from all four regions had, on average, a male biased investment sex ratio (0.21, queen fraction), which is a common feature for bumble bees. On the basis of the number of workers produced (c. 150 workers), the colonies from these four Turkish areas are very well suited for pollination purposes.
bumble bees, Bombus terrestris, colony development, switch point, sex ratio, Turkey