Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Nesting, sex ratio and natural enemies of the giant resin bee in relation to native species in Europe.

Abstract

Megachile sculpturalis (Smith, 1853) is the first exotic bee species in Europe. Its remarkably fast expansion across this continent is leading to a growing concern on the extent of negative impacts to the native fauna. To evaluate the interactions of exotic bees with local wild bees, we set up trap nests for above-ground nesting bees on a semi-urban area of north-western Italy. We aimed to investigate the interaction in artificial traps between the exotic and native wild bees and to assess offspring traits accounting for exotic bee fitness: progeny sex ratio and incidence of natural enemies. We found that the tunnels occupied by exotic bees were already cohabited by O. cornuta, and thus the cells of later nesting alien bees may block the native bee emergence for the next year. The progeny sex ratio of M. sculpturalis was strongly unbalanced toward males, indicating a temporary adverse population trend in the local invaded area. In addition, we documented the presence of three native natural enemies affecting the brood of the exotic bee. Our results bring out new insights on how the M. sculpturalis indirectly competes with native species and on its performance in new locations.