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Pollen Release Dynamics and Daily Patterns of Pollen-Collecting Activity of Honeybee <i>Apis mellifera</i> and Bumblebee <i>Bombus lantschouensis</i> in Solar Greenhouse

Zhang, Hong, Zhou, Zhiyong, An, Jiandong
Insects 2019 v.10 no.7
Apis mellifera, Bombus, anthers, dehiscence, flowering, foraging, greenhouses, honey bees, microclimate, peaches, pollen, pollination, pollinators, relative humidity, temperature, viability, China
Pollen is important not only for pollination and fertilization of plants, but also for colony development of bee pollinators. Anther dehiscence determines the available pollen that can be collected by foragers. In China, honeybees and bumblebees are widely used as pollinators in solar greenhouse agriculture. To better understand the effect of solar greenhouse microclimates on pollen release and pollen-foraging behaviour, we observed the anther dehiscence dynamics and daily pollen-collecting activity of Apis mellifera and Bombus lantschouensis during peach anthesis in a solar greenhouse in Beijing. Microclimate factors had a significant effect on anther dehiscence and bee foraging behaviour. The proportion of dehisced anthers increased with increasing temperature and decreasing relative humidity and peaked from 11:00 h to 14:00 h, coinciding with the peak pollen-collecting activity of bees. On sunny days, most pollen grains were collected by the two pollinators within two hours after anther dehiscence, at which time the viability of pollen had not yet significantly decreased. Our study helps us to better understand the relationship between food resources and pollinator foraging behaviour and to make better use of bees for pollination in Chinese solar greenhouses.