Botanical Origin of Protein Sources Used by Honeybees (Apis mellifera) in an Atlantic Forest

Talita Antonia Silveira


Productive and reproductive traits of beehives are influenced by climate and food availability in the region where the bees are reared or maintained, thus honey and pollen storage, egg-laying conditions of the queen as well as comb occupation are subject to seasonal variations. The present study was conducted in the apiary of the Department of Entomology and Acarology, College of Agriculture Luiz de Queiróz, ESALQ/USP, in the municipality of Piracicaba, in an area containing fruit trees, ornamental plants and a fragment of a native forest. The objective was to identify protein sources used by honeybees (Apis mellifera) over a whole year (2010-2011) in remnants of the Atlantic forest, information that can be used in the conservation and restoration of degraded areas. For sample preparation, the acetolysis method was adopted (Eredtman 1952) and the quantitative analysis was performed by counting successive samples of 900 grains per sample which were grouped by botanical species and/or pollen types. The results show that the bees used various plant types in the area, including ruderal species, to maintain their colonies. Apis mellifera seeks food sources in all plants in the surroundings of the apiary, including herbaceous, shrubs, trees, native or introduced. Eucalyptus sp. played an important role as a food source in all seasons due to its wide availability around the apiary and its high flower production. The most frequent pollen types (greater than 10% of the sample) were Anadenanthera sp., Acacia sp, Miconia sp. and Eucalyptus sp. in winter; Philodendron sp., Mikania cordifolia, Parthenium and Eucalyptus sp. in spring; Alternanthera ficoidea, Chamissoa altissima and Eucalyptus sp. In summer; Philodendron sp., Raphanus sp. and Eucalyptus sp. in autumn. 


pallinology; pollen; beekeeping

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