Determining the time delay of honey bee (Apis mellifera) foraging response to hourly pollen release in a typical pollen flower (Cistus salvifolius)
Christian Nansen and Samuel Korie
We estimated pollen release from hourly stamen samples of a typical pollen flower, Cistus salvifolius, and determined the daily pollen presentation schedule. Half-hourly honey bee (Apis mellifera) pollen foraging on C. salvifolius varied significantly within and between days even though data were only collected on clear sunny' days. We found that flower observations varied between flower patches of a very restricted area. We fitted a simple linear model to half-hourly pollen foraging and used the model to predict observed pollen release. For each day, we calculated the optimal time delay between pollen foraging and pollen release. For 9 out of 10 days the time delay was between 28 min and 60 min. The average pollen foraging was about 44 min time delayed compared to average hourly pollen release. Incorpqrating the time delay in the pollen foraging model to predict pollen release for each of the 10 days, we found a non-Significant difference between observed and predicted hourly pollen release for all days. We therefore suggest that pollen foraging of honey bees is determined by the pollen availability and that monitoring of hourly pollen release in entomophilous flowers may be done through simple observations of pollinator foraging.