Reinforcement of bee-plant interaction by phenolics in food
Fang Lin Liu, Wen Jun Fu, Da Rong Yang, Yan Qiong Peng, Xue Wen Zhang and Jian Zhong He
The winter-blooming plant Elsholtzia rugulosa produces nectar with high levels of phenolics, compounds known to both attract and deter flower visitors. In an effort to begin elucidating the interaction between phenolics and flower visitation to E. rugulosa by the native honey bee, Apis cerana, we investigated the effects of phenolic-laced sugar syrup on honey bees feeding behaviour. Honey bees fed more and foraged for immediate consumption when phenolics were presented in food. Foraging and feeding data suggest that phenolic-laced nectar is not an impediment to flower visitation by A. cerana on E. rugulosa; to the contrary, our data suggest that phenolics may increase flower visitation rate in this system.