Apis mellifera pollen loads to understand the pollen foraging pattern used for apicultural practice in a potentially agricultural belt in Bengal, India
For accurate determination of polleniferous taxa vis-a-vis floral fidelity of Apis mellifera L. in North 24 Pargana, West Bengal, we carried out pollen analyses of individual corbicular pollen loads collected from four apiaries during 2015-2016. Among the 2 434 analyzed loads, 72.97 % were unifloral type, 19.0 % bifloral and 8.10 % were multifloral in pollen composition. We identified 43 different types of palynomorphs belonged to 28 botanical families. Major polleniferous plant species include: Alangium salviifolium, Borassus flabellifer, Brassica nigra, Coriandrum sativum, Croton bonplandianum, Cyanotis axillaris, Luffa cylindrica, Neolamarckia cadamba, Phoenix sylvestris, Poa gangetica, Sesamum indicum and Trema orientalis. Among them, T. orientalis is newly reported from West Bengal especially during June to August (monsoon season). The plant family provided maximum number of loads was Arecaceae (20.91 %), followed by Brassicaceae (16.2 %), Poaceae (6.70 %), Pedaliaceae (6.38 %), Apiaceae (6.16 %) and Fabaceae (5.38 %). Month wise highest number of pollen diversity were obtained during March (13 pollen types) and a minimum of 6 types in November. The present investigation will help the beekeepers to maintain their hives in the region for sustainable apicultural practices.
Keywords: Beekeeping, floral fidelity, pollen load, polleniferous flora