Flower revisitation by foraging bumble bees: the effects of landmarks and floral arrangement
D Redmond; C M S Plowright
Two food source characteristics, floral arrangement and landmark presence, were manipulated so that the influence of each on the flower revisitation frequency by bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) could be assessed. In two experiments, bees were trained to forage for honey-water solution from artificial flowers, which were arranged in one of three configurations: ‘uniform' (parallel straight lines), ‘irregular' or ‘irregular with landmarks'. Experiment 1 used flowers between which the bees had to fly, and Experiment 2 used flowers between which they could walk. In both experiments, bees foraged more efficiently, making proportionately fewer repeat visits, on the uniform layout than they did on the irregular one. The presence of landmarks led to a significantly lower rate of revisitation in Experiment 1 but not in Experiment 2. The relationship between efficiency and movement patterns is discussed.