Free Access
Volume 36, Number 3, July-September 2005
Page(s) 301 - 311
Published online 01 June 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 301-311
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005004

Collective nectar foraging at low reward conditions in honeybees Apis mellifera

Patricia Carina Fernández and Walter Marcelo Farina

Grupo de Estudio de Insectos Sociales, IFIBYNE-CONICET, Departamento de Fisiología, Biología Molecular y Celular, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Pabellón II, Ciudad Universitaria, (C1428EHA) Buenos Aires, Argentina

(Received 4 May 2004 - Revised 7 September 2004 - Accepted 4 November 2004; Published online: 1 June 2005)

Abstract - The individual behavior of foraging bees was analysed at low-reward conditions within a collective context. This study compared bee's foraging behavior under non-competitive (individual) and highly competitive (collective) conditions. A regular pattern in the visitation, non-visitation times and the frequency of foraging bouts was observed in bees that collected individually. In contrast, when bees foraged collectively, they demonstrated great variability in their behaviors. Some bees had regular visits to the feeder while others had only sporadic bouts. Individual foraging parameters related to the "persistency" at the feeder were well correlated with the prior foraging experience at this site. Results suggests that prior experience at a feeding place and efficiency as nectar carriers are positively correlated during collective foraging.

Key words: Apis mellifera / foraging / experience / collective foraging / competition

Corresponding author: Patricia Carina Fernández

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005