Monitoring the spread of sculptured resin bee (Megachile sculpturalis) in Southeast Europe
Centre for Bee Research, Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade
Distribution of sculptured resin bee in Europe and Serbia
Sculptured resin bee (Megachile sculpturalis Smith, 1853) belongs to the Megachilidae family (Hymenoptera: Anthophila). This numerous and diverse family of solitary bees includes several economically important species domesticated for pollination of certain agricultural crops, like bees from genus Megachile (M. rotundata - alfalfa leafcutting bee), and so-called orchard bees (Osmia bicornis, O. cornuta). There are 35 genera with over 450 species from this family in Europe (Rasmont et al. 2017), while in Southeast Europe there are 24 genera and over 300 species (Kuhlmann et al. 2015), of which over 170 species are present in Serbia (35 species only from genus Megachile).
Maps taken from Bila Dubaić J., Lanner J., Plećaš M., Raičević J. & Ćetković A. 2021. Asian bee Megachile sculpturalis (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) jumping and sneaking further eastwards through Europe: a retrospective from the Serbian perspective, as of 2019. (in prep.)
Autokomanda (Belgrade) 02.08.2019.
Overview of the plants which this bee species uses in different parts of newly inhabited areas (in North America and Europe), so far provides a completely unclear picture of plant's relative impact on its success and invasiveness. Therefore, it is of great scientific importance to examine how different plants or habitat types contribute to the spread of this bee in Serbia or in any other newly invaded area. In addition to urban areas, as of summer 2020, we are trying to monitor its occurrence in rural, semi-natural and natural habitats, throughout our country.
You can help us in the search for this bee!
Ecology and bionomy
It is suggested that sculptured resin bee can also promote reproduction and spread of the invasive plant species. However, there are no clear indicators to confirm this potentially harmful phenomenon. Speed at which this species spreads and its success in invading new areas (North America and Europe), as well as large numbers that are occasionally registered, label this species with a negative term invasive, i.e. potentially harmful and dangerous to the survival or functioning of certain native species, trophic networks or ecosystems. This is why it is important to carefully monitor every insufficiently studied exotic species in newly inhabited areas.
Sculptured resin bee female preparing the nest
Quantitative review of documented visitation to plants of different families within the invasion area in America and Europe.
Only by analyzing the pollen (collected directly from females or from newly formed nests) we can identify the importance that certain plant has for larvae, and for successful population growth of this bee species. However, many plants that are widely present and frequently visited can be useful to us when determining the presence and exploring the number of sculptured resin bees (regardless of whether they use them for feeding their offspring or just as a nectar source). A number of exotic, decorative plants, which bloom profusely in the summer months, are potentially important for monitoring the dynamics of the spread of this species, primarily in urban areas. In Europe, the sculptured resin bee was recorded on at least 39 genera from 14 plant families, of which 4 exotic and 2 native (autochthonous) genera of plants stand out for Serbia.
Most important plants for spotting and monitoring sculptured resin bee in Serbia
Japanese pagoda tree
(Styphnolobium = Sophora)
Methodology and structure of the project
(note: in preparation)
Project participants and funding
(note: in preparation)
Scientific and research institutions
Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade (CBB)
Doc. dr Aleksandar Ćetković, (Coordinator of the main Project) (MP: ja bih ostavio samo project)
Jovana Bila Dubaić, Research Assistant (coordinator of CSP)
Jovana Raičević, Research Trainee
Nenad Lazarević, (technical assistant)
Faculty of Forestry, University of Belgrade
Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, University of Niš
Other institutions, organizations, companies
The project of monitoring the spread of sculptured resin bee in Serbia is currently being implemented without asserted funding. With regular institutional and logistical support for the work of the Center for Bee Biology (CBB) by the Faculty of Biology, individual researchers have secured partial funding of ongoing activities through various independent or parallel scientific or professional projects, in areas compatible with activities under this project. A large part of current and planned activities is volunteer work of participants from these institutions and organizations. In the future, there is a possibility of applying for aimed funding for later phases of the project.
Ćetković, A., Stanisavljević, L., Plećaš, M., Raičević, J., Žikić, V., Glavendekić, M. & Bila Dubaić, J. (2020) Project: Monitoring the spread of sculptured resin bee (Megachile sculpturalis) in Serbia. Centar za biologiju pčela, Biološki fakultet, Univerzitet u Beogradu. [https://sites.google.com/bio.bg.ac.rs/srbee/english?authuser=0]
News, results, reports, publicatons
Paper published in journal Neobiota, 2022: Early-phase colonisation by introduced sculptured resin bee (Hymenoptera, Megachilidae, Megachile sculpturalis) revealed by local floral resource variability
Paper published in jornal Environemental Research Communication, 2022: Towards a real-time tracking of an expanding alien bee species in Southeast Europe through citizen science and floral host monitoring
Paper published in journal Science of the Total Environment, 2022: On the road: Anthropogenic factors drive the invasion risk of a wild solitary bee species
Paper published in journal Acta Entomologica Serbica, 2021: Further range expansion of the sculptured resin bee (Megachile sculpturalis) in Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina
Paper published in journal Bee World, 2021: Megachile sculpturalis (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae): A Valuable Study Organism for Invasive Pollinators and the Role of Beekeepers in Ongoing Monitoring Programs