Foraging behavior of the small-sized stingless bee Plebeia aff. flavocincta

Jameson Guedes da Silva, Hiara Marques Meneses, Breno Magalhães Freitas


The aim of the study was to investigate the flight range and foraging behavior of the stingless bee Plebeia aff. flavocincta, as well as testing its attraction to different sugar syrup concentrations within different distances to the colony. Foraging pattern along the day, preference of bees for sugar concentration in nectar and their relationship with distance from the colony were assessed by the means of manipulating those parameters with artificial flowers containing different sugar syrup concentrations and displayed at varying distances. The bees P. aff. flavocincta foraged from 6 a. m. to 5:30 p. m., with a foraging peak from 9 a. m. to 11:30 a. m. and showed preference for higher syrup concentrations (60% and 70%) though have foraged indiscriminately in all tested sugar concentrations and varying distances. We have concluded that due to its small body size, this species needs higher temperatures to forage when compared to large-body species, and shows preference for more concentrated sugar sources, but also explores the food source with lower sugar concentrations within their flight range. Such strategy may help to understand how a small-sized and short-flight bee such as P. aff. flavocincta achieved a vast geographic distribution in the country and is well succeeded in colonizing highly anthropized areas where natural sources of nectar are usually scarce within short distances.


Artificial feeding; Flight range; Nectar concentration; Meliponini; Body size

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