Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Bumblebees are valuable pollinators of numerous wild and cultivated plants. They can forage on variable pollen resources. As some pollen species lack particular nutrients or have global low nutritional quality, it has been suggested that bumblebees mix their pollen incomes to ensure a global balanced diet. The hypothesis that a mixed pollen diet better supports bumblebee colony development than a single pollen diet has been poorly explored. We compared the impact of mono-, di- and trifloral diets on microcolony development of Bombus terrestris using three pollen resources with different nutrient contents (Cytisus scoparius, Erica sp. and Sorbus aucuparia) as well as their mixes. Nine parameters (e.g. pollen efficacy: total weight of larvae/total weight of pollen collection) were used to compare the microcolony performances. Moreover, we measured the influence of the pollen diversity and nutritional composition on relevant parameters. We showed that microcolonies can potentially better develop on mixed pollen diets, but single pollen diet can also be as good as mixed pollen diet. Moreover, the sterol concentration appeared as a key factor to establish the impact of a pollen diet on the bumblebee colony development. This study reveals that diverse pollen diet does not necessary equate with good colony development and supports the importance of selecting floral resources by considering their nutrient contents for bee conservation management.