Maine's Bumble Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Assemblage-Part 1: Composition, Seasonal and Regional Distribution, and Resource Use

Environ Entomol. 2021 Sep 8;nvab095. doi: 10.1093/ee/nvab095. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Global declines of bumble bees place natural and agricultural ecosystems at risk. Given bumble bees importance to Maine's major agricultural crops, we conducted a statewide, quantitative survey of bumble bee species seasonal and ecoregional abundance, richness, diversity, and floral resource use. We recorded 11 Bombus species at 40 survey sites across Maine's three ecoregions, with Bombus ternarius Cresson, 1863 and Bombus impatiens Cresson, 1863 being the most common and Bombus citrinus Smith, 1854 the least commonly encountered. Bumble bee species richness did not differ as a function of ecoregion, but did decline over the season, while species diversity differed by ecoregion and also declined over the season. Multiple response permutation procedure (MRPP) indicated ecoregional differences in species composition of bumble bee assemblages and nonmetric multidimensional scaling produced a stable ordination suggesting assemblage differences were associated with survey site variables including forage plant cover, forage plant richness, elevation, development, and deciduous forest cover. Both MRPP and correspondence analysis also revealed differences in the floral resources utilized by bumble bee species in each ecoregion. Low connectance and nestedness levels indicated low stability pollinator networks in each ecoregion, suggesting Maine bumble bee assemblages may be at risk of decline in response to additional external perturbations.

Keywords: bumble bees; ecoregion; forage plants; landscape.