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P. E. Hallett (2011) Farmed Solitary Bees & Wasps, Data Set (generations 1997-2008)

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The Data Set consists of documents, spreadsheets, photographs, computer programs and slide shows that record the growth of farmed communities of cavity-using solitary bees and wasps at three locations in Southern Ontario. As these are insects have one generation a year (except for one biennial species and individuals of any species that emerges without wintering), it will often be convenient to refer to nests by the generation (year of the eggs), locality and spatial position of the nest in the locality's equipment.

Because of extensive replication of equipment within each locality, and the nesting species being regional rather than endemic, it was decided to engineer 3 different insect communities by using different ranges of cavity widths at the three localities (this is possible because large species need large cavity widths). Any ecological findings applying to all three communities should likely be very general in application. A study on this large scale has only been possible because naked-eye characters of the nests and immatures allow rapid naked eye identification of species or groups of species in the field. The aim has been to supply base data on which further question-oriented ecological studies can be based.

The first nine sections of the Data Set deal with the equipment, the occupants of the nest blocks, how to identify them, management, ancilliary data, extant analyses and other matters which are background to the multicolumn SOURCE spreadsheets within Section 11.0. The SOURCE sheets contain 25,000 cavity-by-cavity nest records from the three localities and 7-8 annual generations, organized by locality, the year in which the annual generation started (the year of the eggs) and the spatial address of the nest cavity. The records provide counts of immatures at different stages of nest survival, with likely causes of death, for both the bee and wasp hosts and their showy parasitoids (e.g., Cuckoo Wasps and others), and information about pests or nest wars. In addition, species overwintering total counts are available for the start-up years of 1997-2000; if these years are included then, depending on the locality, there 8 to 11 generations of data available.

The three localities are:
the Koffler Scientific Reserve (KSR) at Jokers Hill, Newmarket (generations 2001-2008, N44.032 W79.541), or more usually 'Jokers';
the Augustinian Monastery at Mary Lake,King City (1998-2008, N43.952 W79.544), or 'Monastery';
a property in Grey County (1997-2007, N44.22 W80.537), or 'Saugeen'.

Local circumstances and management are given for each.

I am particularly indebted to Matthias Buck (Royal Alberta Museum) for wasp identifications and manuscript keys, and to Steve Marshall (Insect Collection, University of Guelph), Chris Darling (Royal Ontario Museum), John Huber, Jim Cummings and Louise Dumouchel (Canadian National Collection of Insects, Ottawa), and Laurence Packer (York University) for discussions and access to the major collections in their care.

I am indebted to the Director of the Koffler Scientific Reserve at Jokers Hill, the Prior of the Augustinian Monastery at Mary Lake, King City, and to various friends (Pauline and Keith Dixie, Fionna Cowells and the Embackers) for access to land, and to my wife, Helena Hallett, for field assistance and support.

This Data Set differs from earlier CD and DVD releases because long character string records have been expanded to make more typical multicolumn spreadsheets, a good deal of old working has been removed, and metatexts such as this provide necessary guidance, clarification and linkage.

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