This megachilid bee is widespread in Eastern North America and is an effective pollinator of blueberry. It has been evaluated for commercial use and is occasionally used as a managed blueberry pollinator. (Drummond and Stubbs, 1997)
Females are solitary and nest above ground, in raspberry or blackberry cane, or in burrows in wood previously dug by other insects. (They take well to artificial wooden nesting blocks with holes drilled in them.) They seal their nests with plant fiber which they chew to a pulp. (UMaine Extension No. 2420)
- F. A. Drummond, C. S. Stubbs. 1997. POTENTIAL FOR MANAGEMENT OF THE BLUEBERRY BEE, OSMIA ATRIVENTRIS CRESSON. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 446: VI International Symposium on Vaccinium Culture
- Bees - 301-Field Conservation Management of Native Leafcutting and Mason Osmia Bees. 2000. Fact Sheet No. 301, UMaine Extension No. 2420. Published and distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Nest in holes in wood blocks or pithy stems. Nest plugs and partitions are made with leaf pulp or mastic (Cane et al. 2007).
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Locality: Connecticut, United States
- Lectotype: 1864. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of America. 2: 29.
Flowering Plants Visited by Osmia atriventris in Illinois
(observations are from Robertson, Graenicher, and Crosswhite & Crosswhite)
Amaryllidaceae: Hypoxis hirsuta cp (Rb); Apiaceae: Erigenia bulbosa sn (Rb), Zizia aurea sn cp (Rb); Asteraceae: Aster furcatus sn (Gr), Aster macrophyllus sn (Gr), Erigeron philadelphicus sn cp (Gr); Boraginaceae: Lithospermum canescens sn cp fq (Rb), Mertensia virginica sn cp (Rb); Brassicaceae: Arabis shortii sn (Rb), Cardamine bulbosa sn fq (Rb); Caprifoliaceae: Lonicera dioica sn np (Gr), Lonicera canadensis sn (Gr), Lonicera oblongifolia sn (Gr), Symphoricarpos occidentalis sn (Gr); Fabaceae: Astragalus crassicarpus trichocalyx sn cp (Rb), Cercis canadensis sn cp (Rb), Trifolium reflexum sn (Rb), Trifolium repens sn cp fq (Rb), Orbexilum onobrychis sn (Rb); Geraniaceae: Geranium maculatum sn (Rb); Hydrophyllaceae: Ellisia nyctelea sn cp (Rb); Liliaceae: Nothoscordum bivalve sn (Rb), Uvularia grandiflora sn (Rb); Polemoniaceae: Polemonium reptans sn (Rb); Portulacaceae: Claytonia virginica sn (Rb); Rosaceae: Fragaria virginiana sn cp (Rb), Porteranthus stipulatus sn (Rb), Rubus flagellaris sn cp (Rb); Salicaceae: Salix discolor [unsp sn] (Gr); Scrophulariaceae: Collinsia verna sn cp fq (Rb), Penstemon gracilis gracilis (CC), Penstemon gracilis wisconsinensis (CC), Penstemon hirsutus sn cp fq (Rb), Penstemon pallidus (CC); Violaceae: Viola pubescens sn cp fq, Viola striata sn cp (Rb)
Life History and Behavior
Phenology of pollination- changes in recent decades
Seasonal temperature changes are an important factor in determining when plants come into bloom. If there are significant changes in annual temperature cycles over time, the blooming schedule can be altered worldwide. This begs an important question for plant pollination. Have the insects and other animals that service animal-pollinated plants altered their behavioral calendar in a similar way?
Using historical museum datasets and recent bee-monitoring data, North American researchers have examined this question in ten species of wild bees: Colletes inaequalis, Andrena crataegi, Andrena carlini, Andrena miserabilis, Osmia pumila, Osmia bucephala, Osmia atriventris, Osmia lignaria, Bombus impatiens, and Bombus bimaculatus. Over the past 130 years, there has been a significant shift toward emergence earlier in the Spring among these bees, which average approximately ten days earlier now than in the late 1800s. This trend was most pronounced in the last forty years.(Bartomeus et al, 2011)
Does this shift resemble a shift in the bloom schedule of the plants these bees visit? Changes in plant bloom times in response to climate change have been a subject of intensive study recently and data is available through several studies of native plants in North America, from herbarium records and monitoring programs (Miller-Rushing et al, 2006; Primack et al, 2004; Bradley et al, 1999; Cook et al, 2008). Among 106 native plants that are visited by these ten bee species, there is also a significant trend toward earlier flowering. This trend also became more pronounced in the last forty years.(Bartomeus et al, 2011)
Do these two shifts mean that bees will continue to be active during appropriate periods to take advantage of the bloom calendar? That is difficult to say. Emergence and bloom dates are quite variable, and all ten of these bee species visit many different species of plant, which have different bloom calendars. Another important research question: do schedule shifts also correspond for specialist plant-pollinator pairs, where a single species of animal visits a single species of plant?
- Ignasi Bartomeusa, John S. Ascherb, David Wagnerc, Bryan N. Danforthd, Sheila Collae, Sarah Kornbluthb, and Rachael Winfreea. 2011. Climate-associated phenological advances in bee pollinators and bee-pollinated plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 108(51): 20645-20649
- Miller-Rushing AJ, Primack RB, Primack D, Mukunda S. 2006. Photographs and herbarium specimens as tools to document phenological changes in response to global warming. Am J Bot 93:1667–1674.
- Primack D, Imbres C, Primack RB, Miller-Rushing AJ, Del Tredici P. 2004. Herbarium specimens demonstrate earlier flowering times in response to warming in Boston. Am J Bot 91:1260–1264.
- Bradley NL, Leopold AC, Ross J, Huffaker W. 1999. Phenological changes reflect climate change in Wisconsin. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96:9701–9704.
- Cook BI, Cook ER, Huth PC, Thompson JE, Smiley D. 2008. A cross-taxa phenological dataset from Mohonk Lake, NY and its relationship to climate. Int J Climatol 1383: 1369–1383.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Osmia atriventris
There are 6 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank. Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species. See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Osmia atriventris
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 35
Species With Barcodes: 1
Osmia atriventris, sometimes referred to as the Maine blueberry bee, is a megachilid bee native to eastern North America from Nova Scotia to Alberta in the north, and Iowa to Georgia in the south. This solitary bee normally gathers pollen from many different flowers, but will pollinate blueberries, and is sometimes used commercially for this purpose.
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