Honey bee (apis mellifera) strains differ in apple (malus domestica) pollen foraging preference

Arnon Dag*, Raphael A. Stern, Sharoni Shafir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A large proportion of the honey bees from colonies placed in apple orchards collect pollen from competing flora. For four years we tested for a genetic component that would account for preferences for pollen from apple bloom. In the first two years we tested various genetic strains of bees and found significant differences among them in the proportion of apple pollen that they collected. In the final year we found that colonies that were progenies of colonies with high preference for apple pollen in the previous year (‘High strain’) tended to collect a higher proportion of apple pollen compared to colonies from a ‘Low strain.’ The genetic component for apple pollen preference that is evident from this study attests to the possibility of breeding a honey bee strain with high apple pollination effectiveness even under competition conditions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Apicultural Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Gil Menda for performing the instrumental inseminations and Dan Apiary for providing the beehives for the experiments. This work was funded in part by the Israel Fruit Board and by grant no. 1998232 from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF), Jerusalem, Israel.


  • Apis mellifera
  • Foraging
  • Malus domestica
  • Pollen
  • Pollination
  • Preference


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