Pollen collection by honeybees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in a Costa Rican cacao (Theobroma cacao) plantation
Eric H. Erickson JR, Allen M. Young And Barbara J. Erickson
Pollen foraging activity of honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) in a Costa Rican cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) plantation was studied for 6 days during a period of intense flowering (late September). The purpose was to determine the potential of honeybees as pollinators of cacao. Honeybee colonies, with an unknown complement of African (A. mellifera scutellata) genes, were placed in two distinct habitats: near the centre of the plantation, and at the border between the cacao and surrounding forest. The relative frequency of pollen collection from different pollen sources, was determined daily. Eleven major pollen types were gathered, among which Moraceae, Zea mays, other Gramineae, and Palmae, predominated. No cacao pollen was found in the pollen loads of returning foragers and no honeybees were seen visiting cacao flowers within the vicinity of colonies. Some bees must have flown great distances for alternative pollen.
Pollen, Pollen gathering, commericial plantations, Costa Rica