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The Effect of Feeder Location on Pollen Collection by Bumble Bees in a Tomato Greenhouse in Ontario, Canada

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The foraging behavior of bumble bees (Bombus impatiens Cresson) was examined as a function of feeder location containing sugar solution in a commercial tomato greenhouse in Manotick, Ontario, Canada. The feeders were located within the nest-box (fed-close) or placed 1.5 m away (fed-far) and the placement of the two types of colonies was counterbalanced over time. No effect of feeder location was found in colony activity levels or in pollen load size. A foraging trade-off between sugar solution and pollen collection, however, was found: the proportion of foraging trips in which pollen was brought back was significantly reduced for fed-far colonies, which contrasts with our laboratory study in which the opposite effect was found. We interpret our findings as possibly reflecting a limitation in pollen supply in the greenhouse: an already possibly strained ability to find and bring back pollen to the colony was accentuated by increasing the task demands of collecting sugar solution.

Keywords: bumble bees; foraging tradeoff; greenhouse; pollination; tomatoes

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC11198

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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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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