Cotton Pollen: Honey Bee Avoidance and Absence of Gossypol

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Pollen from glanded and glandless upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and a glanded Pima cotton (G. barbadense L.) was chemically analyzed for gossypol and 6-methoxygossypol content. The pollen contained little (<0.003% of dry weight) or none of either chemical. Behavior of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) visiting flowers of glanded and glandless upland and Pima cotton was similar; no preference for flowers of either type of cotton was observed. Therefore, it appears that gossypol acts as neither a toxicant nor repellent to honey bees, yet none of the observed bees collected corbicular loads of cotton pollen. Rather, they fastidiously groomed pollen off their bodies before returning to the hive. Some factor(s) other than gossypol must be responsible for this behavior.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1986

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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