Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Decline of six native mason bee species following the arrival of an exotic congener.

Abstract

A potential driver of pollinator declines that has been hypothesized but seldom documented is the introduction of exotic pollinator species. International trade often involves movement of many insect pollinators, especially bees, beyond their natural range. For agricultural purposes or by inadvertent cargo shipment, bee species successfully establishing in new ranges could compete with native bees for food and nesting resources. In the Mid-Atlantic United States, two Asian species of mason bee (Osmia taurus and O. cornifrons) have become recently established. Using pan-trap records from the Mid-Atlantic US, we examined catch abundance of two exotic and six native Osmia species over the span of fifteen years (2003-2017) to estimate abundance changes. All native species showed substantial annual declines, resulting in cumulative catch losses ranging 76-91% since 2003. Exotic species fared much better, with O. cornifrons stable and O. taurus increasing by 800% since 2003. We characterize the areas of niche overlap that may lead to competition between native and exotic species of Osmia, and we discuss how disease spillover and enemy release in this system may result in the patterns we document.