Foraging distance of Melipona subnitida Ducke (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
Keywords:Artificial feeding, Capture-recapture, Distance, Foragers, Meliponini, Stingless bees
The current study aimed at estimating the maximum foraging distance of the stingless bee Melipona subnitida by comparing the efficacy of two methods: training of workers with an artificial feeding source and the capture-recapture technique, which consisted at marking bees that were released at different distances from the nest, after which the number of bees that returned to the colony was recorded. Under the training method, the mean foraging distance of the three colonies studied was 1,120 m and maximum foraging distance of 1,160 m. Yet the number of recruits and reactivated foragers for each colony were quantified, the average maximum distance unil recruitment occurred was 886,66 m. In the capture-recapture method, the maximum flight distance of captured foragers ranged from 3,600 to 4,000 m, which was 2,700 m farther than the maximum flight distance recorded using the artificial feeding method. Therefore, we verified that M. subnitida is a species that can travel long distances in search for food. Our results also suggest that an abundance of resources near the nest can reduce its foraging area.
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