Avocado nectar is unusual because it contains perseitol, a 7-carbon sugar alcohol. We compared avocado-nectar collection by commonly used Italian-based (IT) honey bee colonies and New World Carniolan (NWC) colonies introduced in avocado orchards in Israel (IS) and California (CA). In IS, NWC colonies had greater honey yields (1.2-4.3 fold), with a higher perseitol content (1.1-5.4 fold), than IT colonies. Overall, we calculated that NWC bees collected 1.4 to 18.1 times more avocado nectar than IT bees in the IS orchards. In CA, analyses of the crop contents of foragers revealed non-significant strainspecific trends in visitation to avocado flowers that were consistent with those indicated by data from IS. The genetic basis for honey bee differences in visitation to avocado flowers was further supported by the consistently high honey perseitol content of selected colonies over two years. The implications of possible strain-specific difference in avocado-nectar preference are discussed in relation to the use of honey bees for avocado pollination.
- Apis mellifera
- Persea americana