Flower Color, Nectar Reward, and the Flower Fidelity of the Caucasus Honey Bee (Apis mellifera caucasica)

Authors: İbrahim ÇAKMAK, Harrington WELLS

Abstract: The foraging of Apis mellifera caucasica was examined on trimorphic (blue, yellow, white) artificial flower patches in the eastern region of the Black Sea. Foraging was defined by a superstructure where some bees visited only yellow flowers, and other bees limited visitation to blue and white flowers. That flower fidelity persisted in spite of reward quality, quantity, or frequency differences between flower colors (Individual Constancy Behavior). Blue-White constant bees foraged randomly between blue and white flowers when reward quantity and frequency differed between color morphs. However, bees whose fidelity was to blue and white flowers limited visitation to the color morph (blue or white) offering the higher quality reward. Thus, energy maximization represented a sub-behavior restricted by individual constancy. Results were consistent with predictions of a model based upon environment, colony size, and bee size, and have important applications for agricultural settings both when hybrid seed is (and is not) desired.

Keywords: Apis mellifera caucasica, Individual Constancy, Energy Maximization