Are honey bees' foraging preferences affected by pollen amino acid composition

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Cook, S. M., Awmack, C. S., Murray, D. A. and Williams, I. H. 2003. Are honey bees' foraging preferences affected by pollen amino acid composition. Ecological Entomology. 28 (5), pp. 622-627.

AuthorsCook, S. M., Awmack, C. S., Murray, D. A. and Williams, I. H.
Abstract

1. Although pollen is a vital nutritional resource for honey bees, Apis mellifera, the influence of pollen quality on their foraging behaviour is little understood. 2. In choice-test experiments, bees showed no innate pollen-foraging preferences, but preferred oilseed rape Brassica napus pollen over field bean Vicia faba pollen after previous foraging experience of oilseed rape. 3. The free amino acid content of oilseed rape and field bean pollen was compared using high-performance liquid chromatography. Oilseed rape pollen contained a greater proportion of the most essential amino acids required by honey bees ( valine, leucine, and isoleucine) than field bean, suggesting that oilseed rape pollen is of greater nutritional quality for honey bees than is field bean pollen. 4. Honey bee foraging preferences appeared to reflect pollen quality. The hypothesis that pollen amino acid composition affects the foraging behaviour of honey bees is discussed.

KeywordsEntomology
Year of Publication2003
JournalEcological Entomology
Journal citation28 (5), pp. 622-627
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1046/j.1365-2311.2003.00548.x
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or code436
445
509
513
ISSN03076946
PublisherWiley

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