Influence of Pollen on the Development of Africanized Bee Colonies (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
Keywords:Apis mellifera, fluctuating asymmetry, physical-chemical composition, bee nutrition, bee pollen.
This study aimed to assess the importance of quality and quantity of pollen on the development of colonies in different seasons. The field experiment was conducted at the Apiary of the Department of Entomology and Acarology of Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, using five beehives of A. mellifera. In order to characterize the quality of pollen, researchers considered measures of total dry mass (g) and the physical-chemical and pollen composition of pollen load and bee bread samples. The development of hives was assessed according to the area covered by pollen, honey, and brood population in the hive (cm²), as well as fluctuating asymmetry of worker bee wings. Spearman’s correlation was calculated among the assessed parameters. The value of ether extract of pollen loads was the only component that was related to the development of hives, its value increased as the area occupied by pollen in the hive decreased (-0.3200*), and as the difference of the number of hamuli of right and left hind wings increased (0.3317*). There was a positive relationship between the wealth (0.3150*) and evenness (0.3019*) of pollen composition and the size of brood population inside the hive. It was concluded that the development of the colony, mainly considering the area occupied by brood, is more successful with increased quantity, wealth, and evenness of collected pollen.
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