Temporal and Spatial Variation in the foraging Behavior of Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) at Chinese Violets

  • Ethel M. Villalobos
  • Todd E. Shelly


This study describes temporal and spatial variation in the foraging behavior of honey bees, Apis mellifera L., at the Chinese violet, Asystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anderson, in Hawaii. Workers made 3 types of visits: “out” (O-) visits involving nectar robbing through corollar slits made by carpenter bees (Xylocopa sonorina (Smith), “in-upright” (IR-) visits involving upright entry along the base of the corolla, and “in-upside down” (ID-) visits involving spiral, upside-down entry along the top of the corolla. In general, individual workers displayed only 1 tactic over 10 successive flower visits and over successive days. Nectar-robbing workers visited more flowers per min but spent less time per flower than workers making IR- or ID-visits. Bees making O- or IR-visits carried similar nectar loads but only very small amounts of pollen, whereas the reverse was true for bees making ID-visits. O- and IR-visits were made throughout the day, but ID-visits were observed only in the morning. Based on inter-site comparisons, the incidence of nectar robbing was influenced by the local density of carpenter bees which made the perforations used by nectar robbing honey bee workers.
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