Foraging ecology of insect pollinators visiting carrot flowers (Daucus carota L.) was studied in relation to five environmental variables. The dwarf honeybee, Apis florea L., was the most abundant flower visitors and comprised more than 94% of the total flower visiting insects. Commencement of flight activity occurred when a m
...inimum threshold of environmental variables was surpassed while the cessation was governed mainly by decline in values of light intensity and radiation. In between the commencement and cessation, the foraging population correlated significantly and positively with air temperature, light intensity, solar radiation and nectar-sugar concentration and negatively with relative humidity. Path coefficient analysis, however, revealed that direct effect of temperature was high and positive followed by light intensity and solar radiation while the direct effect of relative humidity was high and negative. The direct effect of nectar-sugar concentration was negative and negligible. Evidently, path coefficient analysis gave a more clear picture of effects than did the simple correlation analysis. Apis florea on an average visited 1.14+0.23 and 22.78+2.57 umbels and flowers/min, respectively during different hours of the day. Furthermore, the insect pollinated plots produced significantly more seeds with heavier weights than those isolated from insect visits.
Honeybee species Apis dorsata F; A. mellifera L; A. cerana F. and A.florea F. were the most important and efficient pollinators of litchi flowers (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) in India. They constituted more than 65% of the total pollinating insects. The ecological threshold for commencement and cessation
... of flight activity of each honeybee species varied from one another. In general, 15.5-18.5°C temperature, 600-1700 lx light intensity, 9-20 mW/cm2 solar radiation appeared to be the minimum ecological conditions for commencement of flight activity in Apis species. Cessation of activities in all the honeybee species was governed mainly by decline in values of light intensity and solar radiation irrespective of other factors.
In between commencement and cessation, the activity of all honeybee species followed the same general pattern as temperature (T), light intensity (LI). Solar radiation (SR). Nectar sugar concentration (NSC) and inversely with relative humidity (RH). Path analysis revealed that all the honeybee species differed in their responses to environmental factors prevailing under similar set of conditions depending upon physiological adaptation of each honeybee species. Of all the factors studied; temperature, light intensity and solar radiation were the three important factors whose influence on foraging population was more pronounced.