Jun 27, 2019

Assessment of Pollen Diversity Available to Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Major Cropping Systems During Pollination in the Western United States

Journal of Economic Entomology
Ellen TopitzhoferRamesh R Sagili


Global western honey bee, Apis mellifera (L.) (Hymenoptera: Apidae), colony declines pose a significant threat to food production worldwide. Poor nutrition resulting from habitat loss, extensive monocultures, and agricultural intensification is among the several suggested drivers for colony declines. Pollen is the primary source of protein for honey bees; therefore, both pollen abundance and diversity are critical for colony growth and survival. Many cropping systems that employ honey bee colonies for pollination may lack sufficient pollen diversity and abundance to provide optimal bee nutrition. In this observational study, we documented the diversity and relative abundance of pollen collected by honey bees in five major pollinator-dependent crops in the western United States. We sampled pollen from pollen traps installed on honey bee colonies in the following cropping systems-almond, cherry, highbush blueberry, hybrid carrot, and meadowfoam. The pollen diversity was estimated by documenting the number of different pollen pellet colors and plant taxa found in each pollen sample. The lowest pollen diversity was found in almond crop. Relatively higher quantities of pollen collection were collected in almond, cherry, and meadowfo...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Apis mellifera
Observational Study
Crops, Agricultural
Protea repens
Vaccinium corymbosum

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