Hive-entrance pollen transfer devices to increase the cross-pollination potential of honey bees. I. Examination of six materials
Fani Hatjina; John B Free; Robert J Paxton
We evaluated the use of a simple device, attached to the front of the hive entrance, and lined with material, to increase the pollen on the bodies of honey bees departing their colony. The so-called ‘hive-entrance pollen transfer device' is designed to facilitate bee to-bee pollen transfer at the hive entrance. Six types of material were used to line the hive-entrance pollen transfer devices in the summer of 1992. The ability of each material to increase the pollen on bees' bodies was compared twice by measuring the amount (absolute number), richness (number of pollen ‘types') and diversity (expressed as the Shannon Diversity Index) of pollen on bees departing their hive either with or without a pollen transfer device. Of the six materials tested, woollen fabric and felt fabric appeared to be the most efficient in increasing the amount of pollen, the richness and, for the felt, diversity too. By increasing the pollen on bees departing their colony, hive-entrance pollen transfer devices increase the ‘foreign' pollen adhering to honey bees departing their colony and, thereby, they potentially increase the cross-pollination value of a colony's workforce.