, Volume 101, Issue 3, pp 265-273

First approximation to a phenology of the honeybees (Apis mellifera) and flora of Africa

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Abstract

Peak flowering by the total flora of Africa coincides with or immediately follows peak rainfall. Flowering intensity of the total flora decreases with distance from the equator, but that of the honeybee plant resource base (±2% of total flora) does not. Flowering in the latter is highly synchronous (months 1–5 north of and 9–11 south of the equator). Both total and honeybee flora are completely incongruent with either the biomes or phytochoria of Africa. There is no significant correspondence between honeybee phenology and the total flora but significant correspondence occurs between honeybees and flowering in honeybee plant genera. A logistic regression model reveals that honeybee plant flowering predicts major honeybee colony events with a probability of 0.81 south of the equator and 0.71 for the whole continent. It is postulated that promiscuity in the bee plant genera and honeybees of Africa have contributed to their continental ubiquity.