A nectar dearth is a period when nectar producing flowers are scarce, and the dearth can be devastating for honeybee colonies. Provision or presence of alternative flowering plants is thus crucial to stable beekeeping. The present study was carried out at two different locations in Egypt to evaluate the importance of banana flowers as a nectar source during the dearth period (August –October) for honeybees. The investigation on nectar production and sugar content estimated that banana flowers produced a large amount of nectar with a relatively high sugar concentaration and that one feddan of banana plantation during 2016 and 2017 seasons produced 29.2 and 31.5 kg nectar, which contained 4.54 and 5.21 kg sugar. Thus, expected honey yields were 5.67 and 6.51 kg honey/feddan in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Field observations demonstrated that the honeybee Apis mellifera carnica frequently visited banana flowers, in particular, in the morning time and that nectar in uncovered banana flowers decreased in response to honeybee vists while nectar volume in covered flowers remained unchanged. The honeybee colonies in banana farms showed much higher flight activity (foraging and pollen collection) and productivity (stored pollen, brood rearing, bee population, queen rearing, royal jelly production and honey production) than those in control localities. We conclude that moving the apiaries to banana plantations during the dearth period can conserve the strength of honeybee colonies allowing good overwintering, and improve honey yield by 2.69 ± 0.1 kg/colony.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science