Diversity and abundance of native bees foraging on hedgerow plants in the Kakamega farmlands, western Kenya
David Mwangi, Muo Kasina, John Nderitu, Melanie Hagen, Mary Gikungu, and Manfred Kraemer
We determined the diversity and abundance of native bees foraging on hedgerow flowers, and documented the plant species composition of those hedgerows, from October 2008 to March 2009 at Kakamega, western Kenya. We made observations on hedgerow sectors located in five different land use types: Kakamega forest; roads; sugarcane plantations; maize / bean fields; and grazing land. Our findings show that a high diversity of bees is supported by the hedgerows, and that bee diversity and abundance significantly (P < 0.05) differed across the five land use types. A total of 82 bee species belonging to three families (Apidae, Megachilidae and Halictidae) were recorded, with Apidae having the highest species richness and abundance. The suitability of hedgerow plants as bee forage sources differed greatly, except for Megachilid bees. Most important bee plants belonged to the families Acanthaceae, Asteraceae and Fabaceae. We conclude that hedgerow plants play an important role in providing bee food resources and can be used for managing bees in Kakamega farmed areas. We also suggest the inclusion of hedgerows in community based management of bees in areas where hedgerows are present or have viability to succeed, as they can support bee life and hence the pollination of crops in agricultural ecosystems.
Bee forage plants, conservation, farmlands, hedgerow flowers, pollinators, Kakamega, Kenya