Nectar phenolics drive cross visits between dimorphic flowers by honey bees

Written by
Journal of Apicultural Research

Vol. 53 (4) pp. 489-492
DOI

10.3896/IBRA.1.53.4.14
Date

September 2014
Article Title

Nectar phenolics drive cross visits between dimorphic flowers by honey bees
Author(s)

Guangyin Zhao, Jianjun Li, Nayan Di, and Fanglin Liu
Abstract

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is widely grown. For hybrid seed production, farmers use a hermaphrodite parent, conventionally called “male”, to cross with a male sterile parent, or “female”. We fed Apis mellifera colonies with 30 % sucrose solution with (P-fed) and without (S-fed) para-hydroxybenzoic acid (a phenolic acid commonly found in nectar), and compared the number of pollen foragers between the P- and S-fed colonies. As compared to the S-fed colonies, the P-fed colonies had higher proportions of foragers visiting the male plants for pollen. Also, they had higher proportions of pollen foragers that switched to visit the female plants. Our study suggests that nectar phenolics may be adaptively suited to augment outcrossing pollination by honey bees.

Keywords

Apis mellifera, nectar, para-hydroxybenzoic acid, pollination
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