Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 245–252 | Cite as

Bumblebee ecology in relation to the pollination of alfalfa and red clover

  • J. T. Medler
Mémoires Originaux


The ecology of bumblebees has been discussed under two major headings: (1) floral hosts and (2) populations. An understanding of the environmental factors that (1) affect the behavior of bumblebees in visiting flowers and (2) influence the production of a worker field force are basic to the utilisation of bumblebees in a practical way for the increased pollination, or more consistent pollination of alfalfa and red clover seed crops.

Information is presented about the host plants in their seasonal succession, and the attractiveness of various flowers during the period of worker activity. Certain species of bumblebees are shown to differ in their preference of red clover and alfalfa.

The initiation of colonies, the proper development of the brood, and the production of the workers have been related with ecological factors having major influence. Optimum conditions will be required for the culmination of a colony in a maximum force of worker bees at peak availability for pollination.

Worker populations vary widely between species and among colonies of the same species. An elucidations of the reasons for the fluctuations will require additional biological and ecological research.


Host Plant Field Force Maximum Force Ecological Factor Work Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


L'auteur étudie deux aspects principaux de l'écologie des Bourdons: (1) fluers visitées et (2) populations. Il est très important de connaître l'ensemble des facteurs d'environnement qui (1) affectent le comportement des Bourdons visitant les fleurs et (2) influencent l'attraction des ouvrières; cette connaissance peut servir de base à l'utilisation des Bourdons pour accroître la pollinisation de la luzerne et du trèfle rouge.

On donne des détails sur les plantes hôtes au cours du cycle saisonnier et sur l'attractivité des différentes fleurs pendant la période d'activité des ouvrières. Certaines espèces de Bourdons diffèrent par leur préférence entre la luzerne et le trèfle rouge.

Le début des colonies, le développement normal du couvain et la production des ouvrières ont été reliés aux facteurs écologiques principaux. On précise les conditions optimales requises pour que la colonie soit arrivée à son maximum de développement au moment de la pollinisation.

Les populations d'ouvrières varient beaucoup entre les espèces et entre les colonies d'une même espèce. L'auteur espère élucider ces différences dans des recherches ultérieures.


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Literatur Cited

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Copyright information

© Masson & Cie 1957

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. T. Medler
    • 1
  1. 1.Entomology DivisionUniversity of WisconsinMadison

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