Foraging preferences of honey bees Apis cerana in Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka, India

Main Article Content

A.G. Suhas Krishna
Rajashekhar K. Patil


Honey bees visit flowers for collecting nectar and pollen.  Pollen serves as a source of protein for the survival of honeybees.  To understand the dependence and preference of the honey bee species Apis cerana on different pollen resources, we carried out a study to analyze the distribution of different types of pollen in honey in various regions of the coastal plains of the Western Ghats.  Fourteen different honey samples from different sites ranging in elevation from 55m to 135m were collected and analyzed.  Acetolysis and centrifugation were used for pollen extraction from different honey samples.  The extracted pollen was mixed with glycerin jelly and transferred to a glass slide for microscopic analysis.  The primary source of pollen as revealed by the current study were found to be Areca catechu, Cocos nucifera, Ixora coccinea, Mimosa pudica, and Psidium guajava.  Morphotype analysis revealed 12 different plants to be the source of the pollen.  Each honey sample collected from different locations, however, had only three to six types of pollen indicating that honeybees visit a narrow or a small number of pollen sources.  Therefore, based on our study, we conclude that lesser types of pollen in each honey sample indicates that their food resources are getting limited.  Therefore, it is necessary to conserve pollen resources for the better survival of honey bees and the environment.

Article Details

How to Cite
Krishna, A.S. and Patil, R.K. 2019. Foraging preferences of honey bees Apis cerana in Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 11, 6 (Apr. 2019), 13756–13764. DOI:


Anonymous (2015). Agriculture Contingency Plan for District: Dakshina Kannada, Agricorp, 28. <,%20Bangalore/KAR13-DAKSHINA%20KANNADA%2031.03.2011.pdf>

Anklam, E. (1998). A review of analytical methods to determine the geographical and botanical origin of honey. Food Chemistry 63: 549–562.

Ballantyne, G., K.C.R. Baldock, L. Rendell & P.G Willmer (2017). Pollinator importance networks illustrate and clinical values of bees in a highly speciose plant community. Scientific Reports 7: 8389.

Battesti, M.J. & C. Goeury (1992). Efficacite de Ghalysemelito palynologique quantitative pour la certification des origins geographiqueetbotaniquedesmiescorses. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 75: 77–102.

Bhattacharya, K., S. Chanda, S. Gupta & P. Ganguly (1983). Analysis of pollen load from a honey sample from Salt Lake City. Calcutta Science and Culture 49: 222–224.

Chakraborti, T. & K. Bhattacharya (2011). Floristic composition and physic-chemical parameters of honey samples from West Bengal. Indian Journal of Aerobiology 24(2): 59–64.

Chaturvedi, M. (1983). Pollen analysis of autumn honeys of Kumaon region. Proceedings of Indian National Science Academy 49:125-133.

Chauhan, M.S. & S. Murthy (2010). Melittopalynologial investigation of honeys from Chamarajanagar District, southern Karnataka, India. Geophytology 39(1–2): 41–47.

Chauhan, M.S. & M.F. Quamar (2010). Melissopalynological studies of honeys from Harda District, Madhya Pradesh. Phytomorphology 69(3&4): 122–127.

Dakshina Kannada District Profile (2015). Government of Karnataka.

Deodikar, G.B., N. Shah, C.V. Thakar & S.R. Salvi (1958). Morphological characterization of pollen grains of some major bee plants of Mahabaleshwar hills. Proc. 17th International Bee Keeping Congress, Bologna and Rome 2: 214–217.

Devender, R. & H. Ramakrishna (2015). Palynodiversity in Trigona honey from Pederu Forest Division of Vishakpatnam District Andhra Pradesh, India. Geophytology 45(2): 221–226.

Ellis, A., J.D. Ellis, M.K. O’Malley & C.M. ZettelNalen (2010). The Benefits of Pollen to Honey Bees. ENY152,UF/IFAS Extension.

Erdtman, G. (1952). Pollen Morphology and Plant Taxonomy. Angiosperms. Almquist & Wicksell, Stockholm, USA, 539pp.

Garg, A. & P.K.K. Nair (1974). Honey pollen load as bioindicator of bee pasturage in Bhimtal area of western Himalaya. Indian Journal of Palynology 29: 87–109.

Kamble, K.D., R.S. Pandit & K.L. Rao (2015). Melittopalynological investigation of honey from Sunderbal region, West Bengal, India. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, Section B, Biological Science 85(1): 101–106.

Lakshmi, K. & M.C. Suryanarayana (2004). Melittopalynological investigation of Apis dorsata honeys from forest areas of Cuddaph District, Andhra Pradesh. Journal of Palynology 40: 189–198.

Louveaux, J., A. Maurizio & G. Vorwhol (1978). Method of melissopalynology. Bee World 59: 139–157.

Maurizio, A. (1949). Wird das Pollenbild des Honigs durch die Vorrgange in der Honigblase beeinflusst? Beih Schweiz Bienenztg 2(18): 422.

Maurizio, A. (1951). Pollen analysis of honey. The Bee World 32(1): 1–5.

Maurizio, A. (1975). Microscopy of honey, pp240–257. In: Crane, E. (ed.). Honey: A Comprehensive Survey. Heinemann and International Bee Research Association, London, 608pp.

Oliveira, P.P., C. van den Berg & F.A.R. Santos (2010). Pollen analysis of honeys from Caatinga vegetation of the state of Bahia, Brazil. Grana 33: 292–294.

Pfister, R. (1895). Versucheinermikroskopie des Honigs, Forschungsbereichlebensmittal, BezzHygineforense Chemphama-kogn 2(25): 20.

Ponnuchemy, R., V. Bonhomme, S. Prasad, L. Das, P. Patel, C. Gauchrel, A. Pragasam & K. Anupama (2014). Honey pollen: using melissopalynology to understand foraging preferences of bees in tropical south India. PLoS ONE 9(7): e101618.

Raghunandan, R.S. & S. Basavarajappa (2013). Analysis of multifloral honey of the giant honey bee, Apis dorsata F., for pesticide residues in southern Karnataka, India. European Journal of Zoological Research 2(3): 22–28.

Ramakrishna, H. & S. Swathi (2013). Pollen diversity in some Apis florae honeys from Adilabad District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Geophytology 42(1): 11–20.

Ramanujam, C.G.K. & T.P. Kalpana (1991). Pollen analysis of Prosopis juliflora honeys from Ranga Reddy District, A.P., and its relevance to apiculture and social forestry. Journal of Palynology 27: 345–368.

Sahney, M. & K.H. Seth (2013). Melissopalynological analysis of winter honeys of Rewa District, M.P., India. Indian Journal of Aerobiology 6(1&2): 1–10.

Shubharani, R., V. Sivaram & P. Roopa (2012). Assessment of honey plant resources through pollen analysis in Coorg honeys of Karnataka State. International Journal of Plant Reproductive Biology 4(1): 31–39.

Smith, M.R., G.M. Singh, D. Mozaffarian & S.S. Myers (2015). Effects of decreases of animal pollinators on human nutrition and global health: a modeling analysis. The Lancet 386(10007): 1964–1972.

Suryanarayana, M.C., G.M. Rao & T.S.M.S. Singh (1992). Studies on pollen sources for Apis cerana Fabr. and Apis mellifera L. bees at Muzzaffarpur, Bihar, India. Apidologie 23: 33–46.

Song, X.-Y., Y.-F. Yao & W.-D. Yang (2012). Pollen analysis of natural honeys from the central region Shanxi, north China. PLoS ONE 7(11): e49545.

Todd, F.E. & G.H. Vansell (1942). Pollen grains in nectar and honey. Journal of Economic Entomology 35: 728–731.

von der Ohe, W. (1994). Unifloral honeys: chemical conversion and pollen reduction. Grana 33: 292–294.

von der Ohe, W., O.L. Persano, M.L. Piana, M. Morlot & P. Martin (2004). Harmonized methods of melissopalinology. Apidologie 35: 18–25.

Whitcomb, W. & H.F. Wilson (1929). Mechanics of digestion of pollen by the adult honey bee and the relation of undigested parts to dysentery of bees. Research Bulletin Agriculture Experiment. State University of Wisconsin Madison 92: 1–27.