Activity and abundance of bumble bees near Crested Butte, Colorado: Diel, seasonal, and elevation effects

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Journal Article
Ecological Entomology, 2011, 36 (4), pp. 511 - 521
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1. We revisited bumble bee survey data collected by Pyke in 1974 (Pyke, Ecology, 63, 555-573, 1982) to evaluate seasonal changes in abundances of bumble bees and their floral resources, diel patterns of bumble bee activity, and elevation effects on plant and bumble bee phenology. 2. Bumble bee abundance increased during summer as spring queens founded colonies that produced workers, followed by males and autumn queens. The number of plant species visited by bumble bees increased to a peak in midsummer, then declined. 3. The number of bumble bees recorded per person-hour peaked later than the number of flowering plant species used by the bees. Few autumn queens were observed. 4. Despite species differences in emergence times of spring queens, there were no apparent phenological differences among species in worker abundances. 5. Because flowering commences later at higher elevation, abundances of workers and males are also shifted later; therefore elevational comparisons must be seasonally adjusted. 6. These analyses provide basic information about important pollinating insects, and permit future investigations of elevational shifts over time to be properly adjusted for phenological and elevation effects in survey data. © 2011 The Authors. Ecological Entomology © 2011 The Royal Entomological Society.
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