Free access
Volume 24, Number 4, 1993
Page(s) 391 - 396
Apidologie 24 (1993) 391-396
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19930405

Nectar sugar production and honeybee foraging activity in 3 species of onion (Allium species)

J. Kumar and J. Kumar Gupta

Department of Entomology and Apiculture, University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan-173 230 (HP), India

Abstract - Nectar sugar content and solute concentration in the nectar of 3 Allium species were determined to assess their potential for honeybee foraging. The pattern of nectar secretion varied among the 3 onion species. In A cepa and A cepa fistulosum there was resorption of nectar sugars after 72 and 144 h of flower opening, whereas in A fistulosum even 144-h-old flowers contained 3.908 mg sugar/flower and there was no apparent resorption. The 3 onion species contained highly concentrated nectar and the solute contents were on average 68.96, 56.74 and 53.47% in A cepa, A fistulosum and A cepa fistulosum, respectively. The 24-h sugar value varied between 0.219 to 0.767 mg/flower, though significant amounts of sugar were produced after this period. Honeybees preferred the nectar of A cepa. Among honeybees, Apis dorsata dominated the blooms as compared to A mellifera and A cerana indica. The differential preference of A cepa by honeybees might be associated with the concentration of nectar solutes coupled with the amount of dry nectar sugars.

Key words: Apis mellifera / Apis cerana indica / Apis dorsata / foraging activity / Allium cepa / Allium fistulosum / Allium cepa fistulosum / nectar sugar production