Foraging preference of giant honey bee, Apis dorsata F., to selected horticultural crops

Author: 

Neupane K. R., D. D. Dhakal, R. B. Thapa and D. M. Gautam.2006. J. Inst. Agric. Anim. Sci.27:87-92(2006).

Keywords: 

Foraging preference, Apis dorsata, Horticultural crops.

Foraging preference of giant honeybee Apis dorsata to selected horticultural crops litchi (Litchi chinensis), lemon (Citrus limon), bottle brush (Callistemon lanceolatus), cucumber (Cucumis sativus), radish (Raphanus sativus) and summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) was studied during their blooming time at IAAS, Chitwan, Nepal, 2001. The flowering of all six species of experimental plants started in the first week of March and lasted for two months with a peak flowering coincidence during 15 March to 5 April. Foraging preference of bees at 7.30, and 11.00 am and 3.00 pm and 5.30 pm during early, mid and late periods of flowering was assessed. Honeybees foraging at different times of day during early, mid and late flowering periods differed significantly. The highest mean number (8.04/min/m2) of Apis dorsata workers was recorded on bottle brush flowers at 7.30 am during early flowering period followed by litchi, summer squash and lowest (0.25/min/m2) on citrus at 5.30 pm during late flowering period. The bees never visited to the flowers of radish and cucumber. Pollen was preferentially collected from bottle brush, summer squash and citrus in the morning and nectar from litchi and bottle brush flowers throughout the day. Pollen foragers spent less time (2.9+1 sec/flower) and visited more flowers 17.9+6/min) when bees collected both pollen and nectar from the same plant. The numbers of outgoing and incoming foragers were higher (59.0+14, 44.0+15/min/colony) at 7.30 am during mid flowering period and lowest (17.6+7, 17.0+2/min/colony) at 5.30 pm during late flowering period of the plants respectively.