Bumblebee foraging - Is closer really better?

  • Dramstad W
  • Fry G
  • Schaffer M
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Abstract

Bumblebees are important pollinators of crops and wild flowers, and their foraging range has considerable management interest. It is commonly assumed that bumblebees prefer to forage as close to their nest as possible. However, a review of the literature shows that there is little empirical evidence to support this assumption. An experiment aimed at investigating whether bumblebee workers forage close to their nests, and distances between three commercially produced bumblebee nests and an introduced forage patch were manipulated. The results presented here show that bumblebee workers significantly increased their use of a flower resource after their nests had been moved from within the resource to more than 100 m away. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Bumblebees
  • Flight distance
  • Foraging
  • Phacelia

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Authors

  • W. E. Dramstad

  • G. L.A. Fry

  • M. J. Schaffer

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