Bumblebee Rearing

The bumble bee rearing group is focused on sharing and standardizing protocols for raising nests of bumble bees in the laboratory.  We acknowledge that many species of bumble bees can be induced to nest in laboratories worldwide and that techniques for each species may vary.  Here we provide protocols and best management practices for producing healthy colonies for science and management. These protocols have been developed through both experimentation and trial-and-error and they summarize years of experience.  Techniques or conditions that require special attention for successful rearing are highlighted.

LifecycleGeneralized Bumble Bee Lifecycle (B. huntii pictured) Raising colonies in the lab involves co-opting the natural colony lifecycle of the bumble bee species you are trying to raise. This can be done in several ways, but the most basic begin with catching wild queens in the spring of the year and restricting them to boxes provisioned with pollen and a sugar source until the queen produces offspring. Protocols can be found here.

Powerpoint presentation by Jamie Strange and Neal Williams Bumble bee rearing

Dr. James (Jamie) Strange (USDA-ARS)ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-9612-6868james.strange@ars.usda.gov
Rearing of Bombus species from the western U.S.A. including B. appositus, B. bifarius, B. centralis, B. griseocollis, B. huntii, B. occidentalis, and B. vosnesenskii.
Dr. Neal Williams (UC-Davis)

Dr. Elaine Evans (U. Minnesota)

Goals of the bumblebee rearing workgroup and list participants. contact details for workgroup leader(s)