Floral enhancement schemes in agroecosystems are a common method to supplement bee dietary requirements, yet there is little information about how species used in these schemes influence bee physiology and how their nutritional value compares to the floral resources provided by the crop species. Here, we examined the pollen nutritional quality (macronutrient concentrations and protein:lipid ratio) of pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbitaceae), two species commonly used in enhancement schemes, Helianthus annuus (Asteraceae) and Crotalaria juncea (Fabaceae), a multifloral diet and an artificial diet. We tested effects of these diets on physiological characteristics of Bombus impatiens, a generalist pollinator. Bees performed best on real pollen diets, with consumption of C. juncea and multifloral pollen having the most pronounced effects on bee physiology. Our results underscore the importance of considering nutritional quality when selecting plant species for these schemes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science