Do wild bees complement honeybee pollination of confection sunflowers in Israel?

Gideon Pisanty*, Alexandra Maria Klein, Yael Mandelik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Complementarity between species in the use of flower resources can enhance the pollination services of diverse pollinator communities. To test for complementarity, we studied fine-scale patterns of flower visitation and contribution to seed set of the three locally dominant bee species (commercially managed honeybees and two wild, non-managed Lasioglossum species) visiting confection (non-oil) sunflower in central Israel. The three species differed in their temporal (time of day) and phenological (head bloom stage) visitation patterns but generally showed niche redundancy. Moreover, honeybees strongly outperformed the wild species in both visitation rates and single-visit contributions to seed set. We conclude that the present communities and densities of wild bees do not complement honeybee sunflower pollination in the studied system. Sunflower seed production in central Israel is currently dependent solely upon the high stocking rate and pollination efficiency of honeybees.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)235-247
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Gillat Bartana, Lihi Gal, Tahl Paran and Itai Rozen for their help in field data collection; Amots Dafni, Dan Eisikowitch, Harmen P. Hendriksma and Yiftach Vaknin for valuable information and advice; and Alain Pauly (Brussels, Belgium) for the identification of halictid bees. This research was funded in part by the Israel Ministry of Agriculture Research Grant No. 824-0112-08, the Israel Science Foundation Research Grant No. 919/09 and the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony Grant No. 11-76-251-99-06/08.


  • Lasioglossum malachurum
  • Lasioglossum politum
  • crop pollination
  • intra-inflorescence variation
  • pollinator complementarity


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