Foraging of Honeybees (Apis mellifera) on Flowers of Yellow Melon (Cucumis melo): Duration of Visits

  •  Márcia Ribeiro    
  •  Eva M. S. Silva    
  •  Lúcia H. P. Kiill    
  •  Katia M. M. Siqueira    
  •  Mara P. Silva    
  •  Márcia S. Coelho    


Studying the pollinators’ foraging behaviour is quite important for pollination. Time spent by the pollinator in floral handling is one of the aspects of this behaviour. Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are the main responsible for the pollination of melon (Cucumis melo), but there are few studies on their foraging, mainly in the region of Petrolina, state of Pernambuco, and Juazeiro, state of Bahia, in Brazil. This study aimed to compare bee visitation to hermaphrodite (HF) and male (MF) flowers in a crop area where different number of hives were used. For each floral type, 10 flowers were observed, in each experiment (0, 1, 2 or 3 hives). The duration of bee visits (n = 10) was registered in three times of the day: 8 a.m., 11 a.m., and 4 p.m. In general, HF received significantly longer visits than MF, in all experiments, except when using one hive. In fact, significant correlations were found between the duration of visits and number of hives for HF, but not for MF. This is probably related to the attractiveness of HF and to the availability of floral resources. The studies of duration of pollinator’ visits are relevant in agriculture and should be considered when evaluating the efficiency of pollination in melon.

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