Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 177, Issue 1, pp 71-75

First online:

Honeybees are poor pollinators — why?

  • Christian WesterkampAffiliated withBotanisches Institut, Universität Bonn

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Contrary to most other bee species honeybees are highly eusocial and hold extremely long-lived societies. Their all-season activities force them to use whatever plants available and prevent any specific adaptations — in the flowers, in honeybees, and in all competing bees. This flexible behaviour in flowers has been a precondition for perennial colony life. But as bees evade becoming contaminated by pollen their visits often do not result in pollination. Honeybee monocultures thus must be avoided by all means.

Key words

Malus Medicago sativa Salvia glutinosa Hymenoptera Apoidea Apis mellifera Bombus Floral constancy foraging pollination social behaviour