Part of the book: Morphometrics
The commercial production of bumble bee colonies is a multi-million dollar business worldwide. The pollination of greenhouse tomatoes is largely dependent on this industry. However, microparasites are prevalent in many of these colonies and can spread to wild populations of bumble bees. Academic researchers now commonly purchase colonies for their work. I believe that this raises some questions: (a) What is the danger of exacerbating the problem of spread of parasites and pathogens to wild population of bumble bees from field studies using purchased colonies? (b) How representative studies are done on only a few species, for example, B. terrestris, B. impatiens? (c) Does the purchase and use of these colonies give tacit approval to the industry, which may be having a detrimental effect on the native populations of bumble bees? This is an ethical issue. (d) Loss of “feeling for the organism” by researchers and particularly graduate students. These issues were discussed, and the classical method of bumble bee rearing which avoids these problems was described.
Part of the book: Beekeeping and Bee Conservation