Advertisement

Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 411–418 | Cite as

Eating locally: dance decoding demonstrates that urban honey bees in Brighton, UK, forage mainly in the surrounding urban area

  • Mihail GarbuzovEmail author
  • Roger Schürch
  • Francis L.W. Ratnieks
Article

Abstract

Urbanization is increasing worldwide. Urban habitats often support considerable biodiversity and so are of conservation value, even though they are highly modified ecosystems. Urban parks and gardens are rich in flowers that provide food for pollinators, including bees. Here, we use waggle dance decoding to investigate foraging by 3 honey bee hives located in the city of Brighton, UK, over almost an entire foraging season, April to October. Waggle dances were recorded using video cameras and decoded during framewise playback on a computer by measuring the angle and duration of the waggle phase. Foraging was mostly local (mean monthly distances 0.5–1.2 km) and mostly within the surrounding urban area (monthly means 78–92 %) versus the countryside (closest distance 2.2 km) even though this was well within the honey bee maximum foraging range (c. 12 km). These distances were lower than those from a previous study for hives located in a rural area 4.5 km away. Honey bees are very sensitive to foraging economics and foragers make waggle dances only after visiting high-quality feeding locations. Low distances advertised by dances, therefore, indicate sufficient forage nearby and show that urban areas can support honey bees year round. As a corollary, however, urban bees may provide little pollination service to agriculture especially in spring, which had the lowest foraging distances and is when the most economically important animal-pollinated UK crops, apple and oilseed rape, are in bloom.

Keywords

Floral resources Pollination Urban ecosystems Waggle dance 

Notes

Acknowledgements

MG’s PhD, of which this study is a part, was funded by The Body Shop Foundation (Award Reference: MAIN/11/00865). RS is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant PA00P3_139731). We thank Dan Danahar, Rob Sandercock and the Dorothy Stringer School for housing our urban observation hives, Jodie Baker and Elizabeth Samuelson for helping to decode waggle dances and Margaret Couvillon for providing comments that helped to improve earlier draft of this manuscript.

References

  1. Alton K, Ratnieks FLW (2013) To bee or not to bee. Biologist 60:12–15Google Scholar
  2. Angold PG, Sadler JP, Hill MO, Pullin A, Rushton S, Austin K, Small E, Wood B, Wadsworth R, Sanderson R, Thompson K (2006) Biodiversity in urban habitat patches. Sci Total Environ 360:196–204CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bates AJ, Sadler JP, Fairbrass AJ, Falk SJ, Hale JD, Matthews TJ (2011) Changing bee and hoverfly pollinator assemblages along an urban–rural gradient. PLoS One 6:e23459CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Batra SWT (1985) Red maple (Acer rubrum L.), an important early spring food resource for honey bees and other insects. J Kans Entomol Soc 58:169–172Google Scholar
  5. Beekman M, Ratnieks FLW (2000) Long-range foraging by the honey-bee, Apis mellifera L. Funct Ecol 14:490–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown LD, Cai TT, DasGupta A (2001) Interval estimation for a binomial proportion. Stat Sci 16:101–117Google Scholar
  7. Burgett M, Caron DM, Ambrose JT (1978) Urban apiculture. In: Frankie GW, Koehler CS (eds) Perspectives in urban entomology. Academic Press, New York, pp 187–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cameron RW, Blanuša T, Taylor JE, Salisbury A, Halstead AJ, Henricot B, Thompson K (2012) The domestic garden – its contribution to urban green infrastructure. Urban For Urban Green 11:129–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Çelemli ÖG (2012) Pollen morphology of some Salix L. (Salicaceae) taxa used by honey bees as a source of pollen and nectar. Mellifera 12:30–36Google Scholar
  10. Couvillon M (2012) The dance legacy of Karl von Frisch. Insect Soc 59:297–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Couvillon MJ, Riddell-Pearce FC, Harris-Jones EL, Kuepfer AM, Mackenzie-Smith SJ, Rozario LA, Schürch R, Ratnieks FL (2012) Intra-dance variation among waggle runs and the design of efficient protocols for honey bee dance decoding. Biol Open 1:467–472CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Couvillon MJ, Schürch R, Ratnieks FLW (2014) Waggle dance distances as integrative indicators of seasonal foraging challenges. PLoS One 9:e93495CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Crane E (1976) Honey: a comprehensive survey. William Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Davies ZG, Fuller RA, Loram A, Irvine KN, Sims V, Gaston KJ (2009) A national scale inventory of resource provision for biodiversity within domestic gardens. Biol Conserv 142:761–771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dearborn DC, Kark S (2010) Motivations for conserving urban biodiversity. Conserv Biol 24:432–440CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Ellis EC, Klein Goldewijk K, Siebert S, Lightman D, Ramankutty N (2010) Anthropogenic transformation of the biomes, 1700 to 2000. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 19:589–606Google Scholar
  17. Garbuzov M, Ratnieks FLW (2014) Ivy: an underappreciated key resource to flower-visiting insects in autumn. Insect Conserv Divers 7:91–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gaston K (ed) (2010) Urban ecology. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Goddard MA, Dougill AJ, Benton TG (2010) Scaling up from gardens: biodiversity conservation in urban environments. Trends Ecol Evol 25:90–98CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hennig EI, Ghazoul J (2012) Pollinating animals in the urban environment. Urban Ecosyst 15:149–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hooper T (1991) Guide to bees and honey. Blandford, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Hothorn T, Bretz F, Westfall P (2008) Simultaneous inference in general parametric models. Biom J 50:346–363CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Kadlec T, Benes J, Jarosik V, Konvicka M (2008) Revisiting urban refuges: changes of butterfly and burnet fauna in Prague reserves over three decades. Landsc Urban Plan 85:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Loram A, Tratalos J, Warren P, Gaston K (2007) Urban domestic gardens (X): the extent & structure of the resource in five major cities. Landsc Ecol 22:601–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Matteson KC, Langellotto GA (2010) Determinates of inner city butterfly and bee species richness. Urban Ecosyst 13:333–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McKinney ML (2008) Effects of urbanization on species richness: a review of plants and animals. Urban Ecosyst 11:161–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Metcalfe DJ (2005) Hedera helix L. J Ecol 93:632–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mew H, Robinson C, Humphrey A, Kafka E, Oliver R, Bose S (2003) Housing in England 2001/2. A report of the survey of English housing carried out by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Housing Data and Statistics Division, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Mwebaze P, Marris GC, Budge GE, Brown M, Potts SG, Breeze TD, Macleod A (2010) Quantifying the value of ecosystem services: a case study of honeybee pollination in the UK. 12th Annual BIOECON Conference ‘From the Wealth of Nations to the Wealth of Nature: Rethinking Economic Growth’. Venice, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  30. Niemelä J (ed) (2011) Urban ecology: patterns, processes, and applications. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. Office for National Statistics (2011) Census 2011, Table KS101EW. http://www.nomisweb.co.uk/census/2011/ks101ew. Accessed 8 December 2013
  32. Pawlikowski T (2010) Pollination activity of bees (Apoidea: Apiformes) visiting the flowers of Tilia cordata Mill. and Tilia tomentosa Moench in an urban environment. J Apic Sci 54:73–79Google Scholar
  33. Pinheiro J, Bates D, DebRoy S, Sarkar D, R Core Team (2013) nlme: linear and nonlinear mixed effects models. R package version 3.1–109Google Scholar
  34. R Core Team (2013) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org
  35. Ratnieks FLW (2007) How far do honeybees forage? Beekeepers Q 89:26–28Google Scholar
  36. Riley JR, Greggers U, Smith AD, Reynolds DR, Menzel R (2005) The flight paths of honeybees recruited by the waggle dance. Nature 435:205–207CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Robinson RA, Sutherland WJ (2002) Post-war changes in arable farming and biodiversity in Great Britain. J Appl Ecol 39:157–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sanderson EW, Huron A (2011) Conservation in the city. Conserv Biol 25:421–423CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Schürch R, Couvillon MJ, Burns DDR, Tasman K, Waxman D, Ratnieks FLW (2013) Incorporating variability in honey bee waggle dance decoding improves the mapping of communicated resource locations. J Comp Physiol A 199:1143–1152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seeley TD (1994) Honey bee foragers as sensory units of their colonies. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 34:51–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Seeley TD (1995) The wisdom of the hive. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  42. Seeley TD (2012) Progress in understanding how the waggle dance improves the foraging efficiency of honey bee colonies. In: Galizia GC, Eisenhardt D, Giurfa M (eds) Honeybee neurobiology and behavior. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 77–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Seeley TD, Mikheyev AS, Pagano GJ (2000) Dancing bees tune both duration and rate of waggle-run production in relation to nectar-source profitability. J Comp Physiol A 186:813–819CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Steffan-Dewenter I, Kuhn A (2003) Honeybee foraging in differentially structured landscapes. Proc R Soc B – Biol Sci 270:569–575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) The UK national ecosystem assessment: synthesis of the key findings. UNEP-WCMC, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  46. United Nations (2012) World urbanization prospects, the 2011 revision. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Population Estimates and Projections Section, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  47. Visscher PK, Seeley TD (1982) Foraging strategy of honeybee colonies in a temperate deciduous forest. Ecology 63:1790–1801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. von Frisch K (1967) The dance language and orientation of bees. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  49. Waddington KD, Herbert TJ, Visscher PK, Richter MR (1994) Comparisons of forager distributions from matched honey bee colonies in suburban environments. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 35:423–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zuur AF, Ieno EN, Walker NJ, Saveliev AA, Smith GM (2009) Mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mihail Garbuzov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roger Schürch
    • 2
  • Francis L.W. Ratnieks
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Apiculture & Social Insects (LASI), School of Life SciencesUniversity of SussexFalmerUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Laboratory of Social Evolution, School of Life SciencesUniversity of SussexFalmerUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations