The Cistaceae as food resources for honey bees in SW Spain
P L Ortiz
The presence of Cistaceae pollen in honey and pollen samples from different localities of this area was determined. In addition, pollen from Cistaceae species collected throughout 1986 by two honey bee colonies placed near Hinojos was studied. Observations were also made on the presence of Cistaceae pollen in honey produced during the same year by these colonies. The flowering phenology and nectar and pollen production of the species of Cistus and Halimium found in Hinojos in that period were also recorded. The results show that the apicultural value of the Cistaceae in W Andalusia is limited to the genus Cistus, particularly the species C. ladanifer, C. crispus, C. albidus, C. monspeliensis and C. salvifolius. The importance of each of these species for apiculture varies throughout this territory. In all the Cistaceae species studied, the bulk of the flowering occurred during spring. The period of greatest pollen collection from each species coincided with that of its peak flowering, but pollen grains of these taxa were present in honey produced well outside the flowering periods of these species. Both Cistus and Halimium flowers had very high pollen production but only those of Cistus secreted nectar, with high concentrations of sugar (> 70%). The results suggest that in WAndalusia honey bees visit Cistus flowers mostly to collect pollen.