, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 505-521

Spatial foraging patterns of the African honey bee,Apis mellifera scutellata

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Abstract

Recruitment patterns were investigated for the African honey bee in the Okavango River Delta, Botswana. The waggle dances of two observation colonies maintained in the field were monitored and used to construct maps of daily recruitment activity. These maps revealed that the African colonies frequently adjusted the allocation of recruits among food patches, recruited for 16–17 different food sites/day over areas of 55–80 km 2 ,and concentrated the majority of recruitment within 1 km of the hives (median foraging distances for the two colonies were 295 and 563 m). In both colonies pollen foragers were more abundant than nectar foragers, and pollen sources indicated by waggle dancers were significantly closer to the hives than nectar sources. Compared to the recruitment patterns of temperate climate colonies, the African colonies had smaller recruitment areas, smaller mean recruitment distances, and a greater emphasis on pollen foraging. These differences may be related to the contrasting survival strategies followed by tropical-versus temperate-climate honey bees.