Relative preference of honeybees to new hybrids or old populations and prospects of honey extraction
Rinku and OP Chaudhary
In the present study, relative attractiveness of eight cultivars (2 old populations, 6 hybrids) was analyzed for temporal abundance of different honey bees and floral visitors at Oilseed Section of CCS HAU, Hisar. On sunflower bloom, highly narrow diversity of 14 species of floral visitors was recorded. Apoidea was represented by only four honey bee species but insignificant proportion of wild bees, Apis florea and A. dorsata reflected their destruction through human interference. Emergence of pests as the most dominant taxa (47.5%) indicated major demographic shift at the cost of pollinators or beneficial insects. Hybrids Pioneer 64A57, DK-3849 and SH-3322 were most preferred by the honey bees (0.69, 0.60 and 0.57 bees) and the old populations HS-1 (0.33) and Morden (0.38) along with hybrid PSH-996 (0.33) were least preferred. Distinct choice patterns of individual honey bees for specific cultivars at different time intervals were also recorded. Dark dwelling A. mellifera and A. cerana relatively preferred hybrids while open nesting A. dorsata and A. florea for old population HS-1 along with few hybrids. Knowledge of such distinct preferences will be vital for drafting pollination strategies based on species abundance/availability in the larger varietal canvas. Clear preference of honey bees to the hybrids over the old populations theoretically indicated the possibility of honey extraction from the hybrids than the old cultivars. It further indicated better bee pollination avenues in hybrids. However, they do not fully explain why the shift in varietal scenario from populations to the modern day hybrids did not result in honey extraction that existed on old populations and probably hints to some other factors.