Further studies on the behaviour of Apis cerana and Apis mellifera foraging on apple flowers
L R Verma; R S Rana
Studies on the foraging behaviour of Apis mellifera and A. cerana on apple flowers were conducted in four orchards in the north-west Himalayan region of India, using marked bees. A. mellifera visited significantly more flowers (mean, 164-193) than A. cerana (mean, 129-172) during single foraging trips at each site. There was no significant difference between the two species for number of flowers visited per minute. More bees of both species and at all sites foraged for pollen as 'top workers' in the morning than later in the day, when 'side working' (for nectar) was more prevalent. A. mellifera and A. cerana did not differ in the proportions of top or side worker bees at the three observation times, 09.00, 12.00 and 15.00h. On average, more bees were seen foraging on sunny than on shady sides of trees but these differences were not significant at all sites. Both species at each location preferred to forage on trees nearer to their hives. Bees tended to move to trees located in different rows rather than in same rows, presumably because rows were oriented up and down slopes. Both species showed the same floral fidelity during pollination: bees in all orchards carried pollen loads that were more than 95% apple pollen.