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Nest-site competition between bumblebees (Bombidae), social wasps (Vespidae) and cavity-nesting birds in Britain and the Western Palearctic

Broughton, Richard K.; Hebda, Grzegorz; Maziarz, Marta; Smith, Ken W.; Smith, Linda; Hinsley, Shelley A.. 2015 Nest-site competition between bumblebees (Bombidae), social wasps (Vespidae) and cavity-nesting birds in Britain and the Western Palearctic. Bird Study, 62 (3). 427-437. 10.1080/00063657.2015.1046811

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Abstract/Summary

Capsule: There is no evidence of widespread significant nest-site competition in Britain or the Western Palearctic between cavity-nesting birds and bumblebees or social wasps. Aims: To investigate competition between cavity-nesting birds and bumblebees and wasps, particularly the range-expanding Tree Bumblebee, Saxon Wasp and European Hornet in Britain, and review evidence throughout the Western Palearctic. Methods: We compared field data from English and Polish studies of tits and woodpeckers breeding in nest-boxes and/or tree holes to assess nest-site competition with bumblebees and wasps. We reviewed the literature quantifying nest-site competition between birds and these insects in the Western Palearctic. Results: Bumblebees and wasps are capable of usurping small passerines from nests. In England, these insects commandeered a mean annual 4.1% of tit nests initiated in nest-boxes; occurrence of hornets showed a long-term increase, but not other wasps or bumblebees. Across the Western Palearctic, insect occupation of nest-boxes was generally low, and was lower in England than in Poland. No insects were discovered in tree cavities, including those created by woodpeckers (Picidae). Conclusion: Nest-site competition between cavity-nesting birds and bumblebees and wasps appears to be a ‘nest-box phenomenon’, which may occasionally interfere with nest-box studies, but appears negligible in natural nest-sites.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1080/00063657.2015.1046811
CEH Sections: Pywell
ISSN: 0006-3657
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 16 Jun 2015 10:53 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/511048

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