Eastern carpenter bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae): Nest structure, nest cell provisions, and trap nest acceptance in Rhode Island

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Analysis of pollen provisions in Xylocopa virginica (L.) nests in southern Rhode Island showed that this species produced pollen loaves from 21 different genera of plants in 2016, 19 in 2017, and 39 in 2018. Antirrhinium majus L. (garden snapdragon) pollen was the most common type collected in all three years (21.4%). Overall, wind-pollinated tree pollen comprised 22.1% of all pollen loaves. Blueberry pollen was a minor component of pollen loaves (0.1%), despite abundant blueberry plants nearby. Mean values of X. virginica nest measurements (tunnel length 15.4 ± 1.2 cm, width 15.0 ± 0.5 mm, and cell length 17.7 ± 0.3 mm) were similar to those reported in previous studies. Only 2 of the 216 trap nests deployed in 2017 were occupied by 11 X. virginica bees (9 females and 2 males). However, 17 nests contained 230 Osmia taurus Smith, 6 nests contained 73 O. cornifrons (Radoszkowski), and 1 nest contained 8 O. lignaria Say. Thirty-four nests (15.7%) were occupied by 151 grass-carrying wasps, Isodontia sp. and 6 vespid wasps occupied three nests (1.4%) in 2017. In 2018, 4 of 96 trap nests were occupied by carpenter bees. Understanding the nesting and foraging habits of X. virginica will help us to manage natural populations for pollination services.

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Environmental Entomology