Abstract

Honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) collect pollen for brood and young worker development, and pollinate many crops and economically important plants. Pollen was collected from honey bees from six feral honey bee colonies in southern Texas during two time periods to evaluate diurnal patterns of pollen collection. Overall, the same pollen types tended to be collected throughout the day, however, the percentages differed depending upon the time of day. Honey bees from four of the six colonies collected predominant pollen types (> 45% of a sample). Honey bees from the two colonies which did not collect a predominant pollen type collected two or more secondary pollen types (16– 45% of a sample). Lamiaceae was the most prevalent pollen type collected during the early sampling period and an unknown tricolporate grain was the most collected pollen type during the late sampling period. However, honey bees from one colony primarily collected the unknown tricolporate grain during both sampling periods. Several factors probably contributed to these diurnal variations in pollen collection patterns. These include floral patterns of pollen availability, resource depletion and/or profitability, nutritional needs of honey bees and preferences of individual honey bee foragers.

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