07 January, 2022

Consequences of high abundance of Bombus terrestris on the pollination of Vicia faba

 by Smith-Ramírez C, Rendón-Funes A, Barahona-Segovia RM, Moya W

Photo: A. Rendón-Funes: B. terrestris on top of closed V. faba flower
after robbing nectar, the hole can be seen in the base of the flower

Bombus terrestris
is an invasive species in Chile, and is a frequent visitor of Vicia faba. During two seasons, we recorded frontal and robbery visits of all pollinators and its behaviour along the flower lifespan in a V. faba´s field in southern Chile. We found seven species of floral visitors. The only species that did flower robbery were B. terrestris and A. mellifera.  On average the flower lives 3.1 days. Most of the visits were done by Apis mellifera, followed by B. terrestris. 87.2% of visits of B. terrestris were robbery and visited on average 23 times one flower perforation in the flower’s life. Frequency of frontal visits and robbery varied with pollinator identity and year. The seconds spend in robbery visits decreased more acutely than the time spend in frontal visits regarding flower´s age. We conclude that B. terrestris contributes relatively little to pollination and may induce interspecific competition for nectar.


Read the scientific publication in JPE.

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