, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 8–18

Attraction, deterrence or intoxication of bees (Apis mellifera) by plant allelochemicals

  • Andreas Detzel
  • Michael Wink
Research papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF01245891

Cite this article as:
Detzel, A. & Wink, M. Chemoecology (1993) 4: 8. doi:10.1007/BF01245891


The influence of 63 dietary allelochemicals (alkaloids, terpenes, glycosides,etc.) on the feeding behaviour of bees (Apis mellifera) was tested in terms of deterrency and attraction. For 39 compounds a deterrent (mostly alkaloids, coumarins and saponins) and for 3 compounds an attractive response (mostly terpenes) was obtained in choice tests, which allowed the calculation of respective ED50-values. Under no-choice conditions, 17 out of 29 allelochemicals caused mortality at concentrations between 0.003 and 0.6%. Especially toxic were alkaloids, saponins, cardiac glycosides and cyanogenic glycosides. These data show that bees which are confronted with plant allelochemicals in nectar and pollen, are not especially adapted (i.e. insensitive) to the plants' defence chemistry. GLC and GLS-MS data are given on the alkaloid composition of nectar and pollen ofBrugmansia aurea, Atropa belladonna andLupinus polyphyllus.

Key words

alkaloidsfeeding deterrencetoxicitynectarpollenallelochemicalschemical defenceHymenopterahoneybeeApis mellifera

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Detzel
    • 1
  • Michael Wink
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Pharmazeutische BiologieUniversität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany