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The effect of nectar production to the gathering behaviour of honeybees and to the foraging activity of wild bees at apple flowers
Published April 19, 2006
45-57.

Intensity of bee visitation (honeybees and wild bees), foraging behaviour of honeybees and nectar parameters (nectar production, sugar concentration, sugar content in nectars) were inspected at 18 apple cultivars for three consecutive years. Honeybee visitation was calculated to be some 3.07 bee visits at a single apple flower a day but wild be...e activity was very low, only some 0.11 wild bee visits per flower per day.

The nectar production (nectar content) of apple flowers was fairly different according to the cultivars and the nectar production (nectar content) of flowers was negatively correlated with the sugar concentration in nectar. Interestingly, at the majority of the inspected 18 cultivars the nectar production has shown minor or no changes in the morning and at the afternoon. The nectar production (nectar content) of flowers clearly encouraged the total bee activity at the inspected cultivars (r = 0.54). Bees visited abundant nectars with greater sugar concentration most intensely than lees abundant nectars with smaller sugar concentration.

Nectar parameters, however, affected the activity of honeybees with different types of gathering behaviour in different way. More intense activity by pollen gatherer and mixed behaviour honeybees was observed at cultivars producing abundant nectar (pollen gatherers: r = 0.65, mixed behaviour: r = 0.79). The activity of pollen gatherer honeybees and of mixed behaviour bees, on the other hand, was negatively correlated to the sugar concentration in nectar (pollen gatherers: r = -0.51, mixed behaviour: r = -0.73). This can be explained by the fact that their behaviour was much more affected by the amount of pollen than by any nectar parameters. Accordingly, "mixed behaviour honeybees" should probably rather be called as "pollen gatherers with nectar load" instead of "nectar gatherers with pollen load", as widely used in literature. The activity of ineffective side worker nectar gatherers was greatly encouraged by the sugar concentration in nectar (p = 0.63), similarly to the pure (top) nectar gatherer honeybees (r = 0.72). There was a negative relationship between the nectar production (nectar content) of flowers and the activity of these behaviour classes (nectar gatherers: r = -0.47, side workers: r = -0.36).

Concluding the findings we can state that the activity of pollen gatherers and mixed behaviour honeybees is strongly encouraged by greater nectar production (greater nectar content) of apple flowers. Their activity, however, is mostly dependent firstly on the amount of pollen. This is the reason why the sugar concentration is in a negative relationship to the activity of pure pollen gatherers and mixed behaviour bee. On the other hand, pure nectar gatherers and side worker nectar gatherers are greatly encouraged by the sugar concentration of apple nectar the amount of nectar was not a definite influence on their activity.

Side worker honeybees occurred at each cultivar inspected, however, their ratio varied widely among cultivars. So we can draw the conclusion that, in contradiction with earlier believes, side worker nectar gathering is a general phenomenon at apple flowers. The activity of side workers depends first of all on the relative position of stamens and petals; however, low sugar concentration of nectars can probably moderate their activity but probably do not affect pollen gatherers and mixed behaviour bees.

Wild bee visitation was very low; the wild bee species observed (Osmia cornuta, Andrena flavipes, Anthophora acervorum, Bombus terrestris, Bombus lapidarius and Halictus simplex) comprised some 3.44 per cent of the total bee visitation at apple flowers only. Wild bee visitation was in a positive correlation with the nectar production (nectar amount) of flowers (r = 0,4) and with the sugar content of nectar (r = 0.46) but it was negatively correlated with the sugar concentration in nectar (r = -0,27).

Our result calls the attention to the importance of nectar parameters in the effective honeybee pollination of apple plantations. Most effective pollinating activity of honeybees can be expected in plantations with cultivars of high nectar production because this feature seem so encourage the activity of those behaviour classes (pure pollen gatherers and mixed behaviour bees) that are the most effective pollinating agents among honeybees.

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Honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) visitation at the flowers of quince cultivars (Cydonia oblonga Mill.)
Published June 6, 2000
95-102.

Studies were made on the bee visitation of 6 quince cultivars and on the foraging behaviour of honeybees at quince flowers for 3 consecutive years. The bee visitation was highly intense because both the plantation and its surrounding was overpopulated by honeybee colonies. Some 5.5 bee visits were counted in average at 50 opening quince flowers... in 10 minutes and some 9.7 flowers were visited of the 50 ones observed meanwhile. This equals some 7 bee visits per flower per day per in good weather. Bee visitation, however, was variable and it was greatly different in the three consecutive years with fairly favourable weather. Some cultivars tended to be more and others less visited by honeybees than the others but these differences were not consequent at each occasion. No consequent relationship between the weather and the bee visitation of quince trees could be recognised. It was concluded that .other factors were responsible for the variable nature of the bee activity at quince. Most honeybees tended to collect pollen (51.6% in average for the 3 years) and usually much less gathered for nectar only (19.9%), and the rest of them were mixed behaviour foragers gathering for both (28.5%). There were some slight differences in the foraging behaviour of honeybees at some cultivars but these differences were not always consequent in consecutive years. Also the nectar production of flowers failed to affect the bee visitation and the foraging behaviour of honeybees definitely. For the variable nature of bee visitation and bee behaviour at quince flowers, supplementary pollination is needed to achieve as high set of fruits as high is required to a good crop at quince (at least 20-25% because the flower density is low of this fruit tree species). Since the intensity of bee visitation at the flowers is the only reliable estimate of the necessity of supplementary bee pollination further research is needed to explore the relationship between the number of honeybee visits and the consequent fruit set at quince.

 

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Effect of intensity of bee visitation and the foraging behaviour of honeybees on the fruit set and yield of apple (Malus domestica Borkh.)
Published March 14, 2005
31-39.

Based on the results of our experiments, both the relative and the effective intensity of bee visitation were rather different depending on the cultivars as well as the time of the day. While it varied between relatively extreme values (40-80%) in the morning for the varieties examined, there were much smaller differences between the intensity ...of bee visitation at the afternoon, because the relative bee visitation attained 70-90% at each cultivar. These results showed that the differences arising from intensity of bee visitation of different cultivars should be taken into consideration more carefully in the morning in orchard planning and in estimating the number of honeybee colonies required.

The results showed that the greatest percentage of fruit set and the highest number of viable seeds per fruit were measured on branches of those cultivars that were most frequently visited by pure pollen gatherer bees as well as by bees collecting both nectar and pollen (mixed behaviour). The effect of pure pollen gatherers and of bees with mixed behaviour was highly significant from the statistical point of view on the fruit set and the number of viable seeds per fruit.

Those bees that were sucking nectar only from apple flowers did not proved to be effective pollinators at all. Relationship between their number and the fruit set as well as the number of viable seed per fruit were not significant because the coefficient of correlation was close to nil.

The ratio of side worker nectar gatherers was negatively correlated with the fruit set and the seed content of fruits of apple cultivars examined at both of our experimental sites, at Mosonmagyaróvár and Feketeerdő as well. The presence of side worker nectar gatherers resulted in higher decrease of fruit set and seed content of fruits at Feketeerd6 than at Mosonmagyaróvár, especially in the morning.

The effect of flower visiting intensity by other pollinating insects was found to be fairly variable according to the time of the day. In the morning they had no effect on the fruit set as well as on the seed content of fruits either at Mosonmagyaróvár or at Feketeerdo. However, at the afternoon, when their intensity was greater, the correlation was a bit stronger.

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Flower constancy of honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) to blooming pear plantations
Published June 6, 2000
81-85.

Studies were made on the composition of pollen loads of honeybees captured at the flowers of blooming pear trees in pear plantations. Also the foraging behaviour of honeybees was observed. Overwhelming majority of honeybees visiting the flowers of 13 pear cultivars in 1996 were pollen gatherers (95.6 per cent). Proportion of pure nectar gathere...rs was as low as some 3.7 per cent and no more than 0.7 per cent performed mixed behaviour. The analysis of pollen loads of bees collected at pear flowers in blooming pear plantations showed that fidelity was as high as 89-90 per cent towards pear, higher than for another fruit species in other studies. Even those plant species that are regarded to be strong competitors of blooming fruit trees in the literature (Taraxacum officinale, Stellaria media, Lamium purpureum) were scarcely represented in the loads. Accordingly, honeybees can be much more important and more effective pollinating agents of pear cultivars than generally believed.

 

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Path analysis and correlation coefficient of environmental factors influencing foraging behaviour of four honeybee species pollinating litchi flowers (Litchi chinensis Sonn.)
Published March 16, 2004
77-82.

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.

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Flower visiting activity of honeybees on fruit species blooming subsequently
Published March 21, 2001
12-16.

In the small demonstration orchard of the College Faculty of Horticulture at Kecskemét the blooming time, the flower density and the honeybee activity was observed at a number of cultivars of 20 flower species during four consecutive years.

Fruit crop species were in flower during 3-4 months altogether. The blooming period of them was ...classified into five groups as early (almond, apricot, gooseberry), middle early (sweet cherry, red currant, currant-gooseberry, black currant, white currant, peach, plum, sour cherry), middle late (pear, strawberry, apple), late (black elder, quince, medlar, raspberry, blackberry-raspberry) and very late blooming period (blackberry). The blooming period of the members of the groups of early and medium early blooming often coincided partly and the same happened between the medium and the medium late as well as between fruits of late and very late flowering.

The flower density of some fruit species is extremely variable (currant-gooseberry, medlar), while at others it is fairly stable and evenly dense in consecutive years (sour cherry, sweet cherry, strawberry). At other fruit species it is moderately changeable. Some fruit species tended to attract more honeybees than others (plum, apple, quince, medlar) and some of them tended to attract much less (black elder, pear) but most species can be regarded as of medium attractivity.

On the flowers of some fruit species (pear, strawberry, quince) honeybees gathered pollen predominantly. At most fruit species however pollen and nectar gathering behaviour seemed to be gradually changing during the season. Namely most honeybees tended to gather pollen at the flowers of the early blooming fruit species, but on the other hand typical foraging behaviour gradually shifted to nectar gathering at the flowers of fruit species of moderate and late blooming periods.

 

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Nectar production and pollination in peach
Published June 6, 2000
123-126.

Observations were made at two growing sites, Siófok and Szatymaz, in the years 1998 and 1999, on 16 peach varieties. The production of nectar was measured, the foraging behaviour of bees, fruit set and the effect of exclusion of bee visits for different periods were observed systematically.

Production of nectar confirmed earlier data, ...9.09 mg per flower in average. There was large variation due to variety and date of observation. Bee visits were relatively abundant. At favourable weather, 1 to 30 visits/flower/day occurred in the average. Artificial hand pollination increased fruit set, substantially. Open pollination yielded superior fruit set than self pollination, without bees. Supplementary bee pollination can be regarded to be beneficial to peach production as well.

 

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Some flower characters, variety features and environmental effects affecting bee pollination of pear (Pyrus communis L.): a review of the results of latest research
Published June 6, 2000
59-66.

Intensive research has been implemented on different aspects of the bee pollination of pear in Hungary in the past decade, extending to the following topics: the effect of the opening sequence of the flowers within the inflorescence of pear cultivars on the effectiveness of bee pollination; the nectar production of flowers of pear cultivars; in...tensity of honeybee visitation and their foraging behaviour at the flowers of pear cultivars; flower constancy of honeybees to pear plantations; competition by weeds in bloom for bee pollination in flowering pear orchards; and some aspects to the bee pollination strategies of pear plantations (the effect of the limitation of bee pollination period on the set and the yield, possible compensation of frost damage of flowers by bee pollination in pear orchards, the optimal size of single cultivar block in pear plantations). The results of these studies are reviewed in this paper and some important aspects that need further studies are outlined.

 

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Changes in Some Quality Criteria During Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Storage of Peaches
Published March 21, 2001
58-61.

Intensive research has been implemented on different aspects of the bee pollination of pear in Hungary in the past decade, extending to the following topics: the effect of the opening sequence of the flowers within the inflorescence of pear cultivars on the effectiveness of bee pollination; the nectar production of flowers of pear cultivars; in...tensity of honeybee visitation and their foraging behaviour at the flowers of pear cultivars; flower constancy of honeybees to pear plantations; competition by weeds in bloom for bee pollination in flowering pear orchards; and some aspects to the bee pollination strategies of pear plantations (the effect of the limitation of bee pollination period on the set and the yield, possible compensation of frost damage of flowers by bee pollination in pear orchards, the optimal size of single cultivar block in pear plantations). The results of these studies are reviewed in this paper and some important aspects that need further studies are outlined.

 

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