, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 621-629
Date: 03 May 2013

Honey bees and bumble bees respond differently to inter- and intra-specific encounters

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Abstract

Multiple bee species may forage simultaneously at a common resource. Physical encounters among these bees may modify their subsequent foraging behavior and shape pollinator distribution and resource utilization in a plant community. We observed physical encounters between honey bees, Apis mellifera, and bumble bees, Bombus impatiens, visiting artificial plants in a controlled foraging arena. Both species were more likely to leave the plant following an encounter with another bee, but differed in their responses to intra- and inter-specific encounters. A. mellifera responded similarly to an encounter with either species. However, most B. impatiens that encountered A. mellifera discontinued foraging at the observed plant, but exhibited only a slight decrease in foraging following an intraspecific encounter. Interactions between bees that elicit changes in foraging behavior may have important implications for the pollination of wild and managed plants.