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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae, Apis Mellifera) Pollen Load Rate Based on Pollen Grain Size

Authors
item Price, Leslie
item Chukwuma, Franklin - ALCORN STATE UNIV
item Adamczyk, John

Submitted to: Journal of Entomological Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 2004
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Pollination is an important part of crop life history. Most small vegetables require the mediated pollination from bees and insects. This study looked at the relationship of pollen grain size to the load of pollen in a honey bees' pollen basket. Observations indicated that the smaller the grain of pollen, the heavier the overall load. Understanding the load capacity will help in understanding pollination efficiency and crop preferences.

Technical Abstract: Pollination is an important component of small vegetable fertility. Understanding preference and visitation dynamics will lead to a better understanding of insect mediated pollinaton. Pollen traps were used to collect pollen samples and sub-samples were collected and separated by color. These were further examined to determine size. It was determined from these observations that the smaller the grains of pollen the heavier the corbicular load. As size of pollen grain increased the space available to hold pollen in the corbicula was reduced. Thus, there was a direct correlation between pollen weight and size. Smaller grains that were more compactly placed (due to grain size) in the pollen basket required less space. Our data suggest that a greater weight and number of grains of pollen could be carried before returning to the colony to unload the pollen basket. Thus, relationships of pollen grain size to corbicular load may be important factors to consider in the experimental design of future honey bee pollination studies.

Last Modified: 4/15/2014
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