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Open AccessArticle

Landscape Simplification Modifies Trap-Nesting Bee and Wasp Communities in the Subtropics

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Genecology Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, 90 Sippy Downs Dr, Sippy Downs, QLD 4556, Australia
2
Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
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Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Management, Technical University of Munich, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising, Germany
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Biodiversity Program, Queensland Museum, PO Box 3300, South Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia
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School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
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Kin Kin Native Bees, Main St, Kin Kin, QLD 4571, Australia
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School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
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Department of Public Technology and Innovation Planning, Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis INT, Appelsgarten 2, 53879 Euskirchen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(12), 853; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120853
Received: 5 November 2020 / Revised: 26 November 2020 / Accepted: 27 November 2020 / Published: 1 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Ecology, Diversity and Conservation)
Many bees and wasps are important pollinators and natural pest controllers. Habitat loss is a major threat to bee and wasp conservation, but little is known about how this impacts tropical bees and wasps. This study aimed to determine how habitat loss affects solitary bees and wasps in tropical agricultural landscapes and how they change with the seasons. Solitary bees and wasps can be monitored using trap nests, popularly known as “bee hotels”. We installed bee hotels in forests and orchards and checked them every season over two years. We found 41 species of bees and wasps nesting in bee hotels. Importantly, five species of bees and 14 species of wasps were found only in forests, mostly species with particular food or nesting requirements. More species of bees and wasps used the hotels in the wet season (spring-summer). Our study suggests that solitary bees and wasps with special resource requirements are vulnerable to habitat loss in tropical agricultural landscapes.
(1) Background: Landscape simplification is a major threat to bee and wasp conservation in the tropics, but reliable, long-term population data are lacking. We investigated how community composition, diversity, and abundance of tropical solitary bees and wasps change with landscape simplification (plant diversity, plant richness, distance from forest, forest cover, and land use type) and season. (2) Methods: We installed 336 timber and cob trap nests in four complex forests and three simplified orchards within the subtropical biodiversity hotspot of south-east Queensland, Australia. Trap nests were replaced every season for 23 months and all emergents identified. (3) Results: We identified 28 wasp species and 13 bee species from 2251 brood cells. Bee and wasp community composition changed with landscape simplification such that large, ground-nesting, and spider-hunting species were present in all landscapes, while those with specialist resource requirements and (clepto) parasitoids were present only in complex landscapes. Abundance and diversity of bees and wasps were unaffected by landscape simplification but increased with rainfall. (4) Conclusions: This study highlights the need for multi-year studies incorporating nuanced measures such as composition with a focus on functional diversity to detect changes bee and wasp populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: bee hotels; Hymenoptera; land use change; habitat loss; habitat complexity; bee decline; countryside bee hotels; Hymenoptera; land use change; habitat loss; habitat complexity; bee decline; countryside
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wilson, R.S.; Leonhardt, S.D.; Burwell, C.J.; Fuller, C.; Smith, T.J.; Kaluza, B.F.; Wallace, H.M. Landscape Simplification Modifies Trap-Nesting Bee and Wasp Communities in the Subtropics. Insects 2020, 11, 853. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120853

AMA Style

Wilson RS, Leonhardt SD, Burwell CJ, Fuller C, Smith TJ, Kaluza BF, Wallace HM. Landscape Simplification Modifies Trap-Nesting Bee and Wasp Communities in the Subtropics. Insects. 2020; 11(12):853. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120853

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wilson, Rachele S.; Leonhardt, Sara D.; Burwell, Chris J.; Fuller, Chris; Smith, Tobias J.; Kaluza, Benjamin F.; Wallace, Helen M. 2020. "Landscape Simplification Modifies Trap-Nesting Bee and Wasp Communities in the Subtropics" Insects 11, no. 12: 853. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120853

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