Laboratory rearing of solitary bees and wasps

Ecological experiments often require standardized methods that exclude natural variation and allow manipulation of a single parameter. It has been shown that domesticated honey bee larvae are raisable in a controlled environment. Here we demonstrate that this approach is also transferable to wild solitary bees and wasps without inducing negative effects on their development. Wells may also be supplemented with the antibiotic substance oxytetracycline to control the presence of bacteria. The method thus provides a useful tool to investigate offspring recruitment and larval development in solitary bees and wasps, plus their responses to manipulation of factors as for example diets, toxins and microbiota.

Reference: Becker, M., and Keller, A. (2016) Laboratory rearing of solitary bees and wasps, Insect Science 23, 918.