Pollen Selection by Feral Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colonies in a Coastal Prairie Landscape
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The collection of pollen by honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) provides valuable pollination services for many plants and the protein necessary for brood and young worker development. We collected and identified pollen gathered by feral honey bee colonies living in tree cavities in a coastal prairie landscape over the duration of 1 yr. Specific objectives included evaluating overlap in pollen use between colonies throughout the year, examining the influence of the spatial locations of the colonies on overlap in pollen use, and describing general pollen collection patterns. The feral colonies collected a wide variety of pollen types. Anemophilous (wind pollinated) pollen types were important in the fall, but entomophilous (insect pollinated) pollen types were important for the remainder of the year. Herbaceous plants and shrubs provided pollen during the spring and early summer, trees in mid- to late summer, and herbaceous plants in the fall. The pollen sources used by the feral colonies also tended to be good nectar sources. Overlap in pollen use between colonies varied throughout the year. Pollen overlap was correlated with distance for some sampling periods and not others, probably because of the way colonies select resources and the flowering phenology in the study area.
author list (cited authors)
Baum, K. A., Rubink, W. L., Coulson, R. N., & Bryant, V. M.