Roderick P Macfarlane, Jerzy J Lipa And Helen J Liu
Extensive commercial rearing of bumble bee (Bombus) colonies in Europe and lesser output by at least 11 firms in New Zealand of B. terrestris, plus production of B. impatiens and B. occidentalis in North America by at least 3 firms has a trade of over 200 000 colonies per year. Belgium, Netherlands, and New Zealand firms export colonies to several European countries and to Japan and the USA, which has raised the issue of the safety of exports to other countries and continents. Trials on rearing include at least Japanese species. Commercial production of bumble bee colonies relies on specially designed heated rooms and this intensive rearing can allow pathogen or parasite outbreaks. A low incidence of critical natural enemies is one of the criteria that affects the management potential of bumble bee species.