Journal of Apicultural Science

Effect of pollen load size on the weight of pollen harvested from honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera L.)

Journal of Apicultural Science. Volume 50, Issue 2, Pages 47-57, ISSN (Print) 1643-4439
The objective of this study was to demonstrate whether and to what extent the size of pollen loads formed by foragers affects the weight of pollen collected from honeybee colonies. The study comprised 19 colonies and was conducted from May to the end of August in the years 2004 and 2005. Pollen was collected in the form of pollen loads using a pollen capturing device with a 5 mm mesh plate. By using the electron scanning microscope shape of pollen grains was determined to make the taxonomic identification of plant species and families foraged on by the bees. The average daily harvest of pollen loads from 1 honeybee colony was 17.62 g in 2004 and 19.40 g in 2005. Pollen yield per colony in the fist study year was from 4.50 g/day (colony no. 10) to 68.19 g/day (colony no. 21). In the second study year substantially lower values were recorded: from 4.30 g/day (colony no. 6) do 38.25 g/day (colony no. 9). The weight of single pollen loads recovered from honeybee foragers averaged 6.54 mg/load in 2004 and 6.80 mg/load in 2005. The largest pollen loads recovered weighed 7.44 mg/load in 2004 (colony no. 12) and 8.33 mg/load in 2005 (colony no. 9). The relationship between the weight of single pollen loads recovered from incoming foragers and the pollen yield was demonstrated for single honeybee colonies whereas the repeatability of that trait at a similar level occurred in 1 colony in the first study year and in 6 colonies in the second study year - in both successive years the relationship was not repeated in any colony.
Honeybee colony, pollen loads, pollen efficiency, pollen-capturing devices
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