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Seasonal dynamics in pollen diet of honey bees in landscapes in Denmark

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

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Yoko Luise Dupont - Lecturer

Mette Balslev Greve - Lecturer

Per Kryger - Lecturer

Pollen diet composition affects bee health and colony survival. However, pollen collection by bees is highly influenced by availability of pollen producing flowers in the landscape surrounding the apiary. Furthermore, quantity and species composition of dominant pollen providing plants changes through the season.
We investigated the composition of newly collected bee bread in apiaries located in 30 landscapes across Denmark. Citizen scientist beekeepers were instructed in collecting bee bread once every three weeks throughout a field season (up to 10 times per apiary). The botanical composition of pollen was determined to genus or family level by microscopic palynological analysis. Furthermore, we carried out a landscape analysis, quantifying potentially flower-containing areas within a three km radius of the study apiaries. Most landscapes consisted of a mixture of different land use types, including agricultural, urban and natural areas.
A total of 99 pollen types were identified from 258 samples of bee bread. However, few pollen types commonly and abundantly occurred in the samples. These were Pirus/Prunus, Brassica, Acer, Trifolium repens, Taraxacum and Salix, which are typically associated with farmland, the dominant landscape type in Denmark. However, considerable variation was found in composition of pollen collected by bees in different landscapes. A seasonal change was observed in the pollen composition, and a hump-shaped distribution of pollen diversity was found, pollen diversity peaked in May.
14 Oct 2021

Event (Conference)

Title17th COLOSS Conference (2021 COLOSS eConference)
Degree of recognitionInternational event

ID: 227763790