Flower constancy and efficiency of nectar foraging by the red-tailed bumblebee Bombus Lapidarius (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

Roscoe, A. and Irvin, S. (2010) Flower constancy and efficiency of nectar foraging by the red-tailed bumblebee Bombus Lapidarius (Hymenoptera: Apidae). The British Journal of Entomology and Natural History, 23. pp. 161-166.

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Abstract

The foraging behaviour of Bombus lapidarius (L.) was studied over a five week period during June and July 2005. The main aim was to determine whether the efficiency of nectar collection by B. lapidarius was influenced by levels of flower constancy. Two plots were monitored around the Writtle College estate: the first, a homogeneous control plot of blue-flowered cornflower Centaurea cyanus and the second a mixed flower plot comprising corncockle, corn marigold, corn chamomile, common poppy and 25% C. cyanus. Flower constancy to C. cyanus (the number of successive visits made to individual plants of this species) was recorded at 100%, both in the mixed plot and control plot. The reasons for the unexpected high fidelity to cornflower in the presence of other potentially attractive flower species are discussed. The efficiency of nectar collection (the percent of time spent on flowerheads ingesting nectar) was approximately 9% lower in the mixed plot primarily as a result of the need to forage over greater distances between flowerheads containing nectar sources. It is suggested that whilst individual worker efficiency in the collection of nectar is desirable, colonies may accept a degree of inefficiency as a trade-off against the ability of the colony as a whole to exploit the wider landscape and all potential sources of nectar.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Crop and Environment Sciences
Depositing User: Mr Darren Roberts
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2018 14:37
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2020 16:14
URI: http://hau.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/16825

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