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Foraging Behaviour of Heterotrigona itama (Apidae: Meliponini) in Residential Areas

Suzan Benedick, Jualang Azlan Gansau and Abdul Hamid Ahmad

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 44, Issue 2, May 2021


Keywords: Abiotic factors, foraging behaviour, Heterotrigona itama, residential area, stingless bees

Published on: 28 May 2021

This study aims to investigate the foraging behaviour of Heterotrigona itama in exploiting food resources at a residential area, and the viability of this species to adapt to urban microclimatic conditions. Heterotrigona itama prefers to forage at areas closer to their nesting site, where diverse food sources are found. The marked bees of H. itama prefer to forage on various resources available at a 500-metre radius from the house yard. The obtained results indicate that the active foraging pattern of H. itama is negatively correlated to the time phases of a day (p < 0.05). This phenomenon was contributed by the three peaks of foraging hours, which reached a peak in the early morning (6:30 to 8:00 a.m.), moderately peaked towards the evening (2:30 to 3:30 p.m.), and was greatest towards the afternoon (10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.). The ambient temperature and relative humidity were not the primary factors influencing the average number of foragers exiting from and returning to the hives (temperature, p > 0.05; and humidity, p > 0.05). There was a difference between the varieties of content resources collected by the bees (p < 0.05). The nectar or water sources was the highest material (51.39%) that was brought back to the hive by foragers, followed by resin (34.73%) and pollen (13.87%). There was a significant difference in foraging time phases by returning foragers for collecting resin (p < 0.05) and nectar or water (p < 0.02), but there was no significant difference in foraging time phases found for pollen (p > 0.05). We concluded from the results that H. itama is able to withstand urban microclimate conditions, and successfully incorporated pollen, nectar or water, and resin obtained from floral and non-floral resources into their diet.

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