Chapter 1. Field equipment for studies of bumblebees

The first attempts to domesticate, to deal with and to handle bumblebees took place in nature. People tried to attract bumblebees to crops and thus to create some artificial or semi-artificial nesting places to make queens, searching for appropriate cavities, establish their colonies in the sites close to fields, where bumblebees would be able to carry out their pollination function.

The artificial domiciles (nest boxes, trap nests) can be made of wood, ceramics, polystyrene, thick plywood, concrete, etc. The recommended inner cavity dimensions should be not less than 15x15x15 cm and not more than 20x20x20 cm. Each box has entrance hole (diameter — 1,5 cm). Cotton wool, moss or any other fiber material must be put inside the box to provide thermoisolation for the comb. The upper lid of the nest box must be easily taken off to give an easy inspection and manipulation in the nest. Artificial domiciles can be installed in the under-, on- and aboveground positions. Different species of bumblebees have preferences in their nesting habits. And this should be taken in account while planning the proportion of the above-mentioned positions of the domiciles’ installations in the given landscape.

Sometimes it is necessary to have artificial domiciles, which give the possibility to observe and manipulate with the colony and bees in the field. We managed to develop such hives for one, four and nine colonies. These hives are provided with additional thermoisolation, double-glazing for observation windows and other devices for the specialized manipulations and experiments.

11 happens often that we need to extract a colony of bumblebees from (he natural site and to move it to the laboratory or to the field of crops or greenhouse. Sometimes this measure is undertaken because of the safety reasons of humans. This procedure can be very dangerous for bumblebees and painful for people, who are involved in it. So the detailed process of safe and secure extraction of a nest is described as well, as the next installation and handling with the colony in the artificial hive. Very often specialists in bumblebees are asked to remove some nest of wasps or hornets. So the detailed description of this process is given for these stinging insects also.

To install, to inspect and to take down nest boxes from the trees one should have ability to safe climbing the trees. The special devices and methods of climbing are described in details.

To estimate the work of bumblebees on the crops, their abundance, various population parameters it is necessary to carry out definite monitoring procedures in the field (in the places of foraging of bumblebees). These methods of estimation are explained as well, as all sorts of auxiliary equipment are described for the various field work.

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Источник: Богатырев Н.Р.. Прикладная экология шмелей. — Новосибирск: Изд-во Городского центра развития образования,2001. — 160 с.. 2001

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