This week we welcome our own Adam Groulx.
Nesting aggregation as a predictor of brood parasitism in mason bees (Osmia spp.)
Identifying forces that affect population dynamics can allow us to better understand the distribution and abundance of animals. Mason bees are important pollinators for agricultural systems and are vulnerable to exploitation by brood parasites, such as kleptoparasitic wasps. High levels of nesting density have the potential to increase rates of brood parasitism by attracting parasites to areas with aggregations of nests. I conducted a field study at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado, USA to assess whether mason bees suffered increased brood parasitism as the size of nesting aggregations increased. I discuss the results of this study and their implications for mason bee populations in both natural and agricultural systems.