Investigating Nectar Rhythms in Squash (\u3cem\u3eCucurbita pepo\u3c/em\u3e): Effects on Honey Bee (\u3cem\u3eApis mellifera\u3c/em\u3e) Foraging Behavior.


Experiments were performed to investigate the influence of water availability on the diel patterns of nectar secretion (volume, concentration, sugar production) in male squash flowers as well as to discover what physical component of nectar honey bees use to trigger their time-memory. Squash plants were grown in the greenhouse and in the field under both constant and variable watering regimes. Throughout anthesis, nectar volume and sugar concentration were recorded. In the field, the temporal distribution of arrivals to squash was observed with and without blossoms present. In the greenhouse and in the field, squash flowers exhibit a consistent diel pattern of nectar secretion that does not significantly alter during drought conditions; flowers open just before sunrise (with low volume and sugar and high concentration) and close at midday (with high volume and sugar and low concentration). Honey bees preferentially arrived early in anthesis possibly cueing on either the sugar concentration or the first availability of nectar

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This paper was published in East Tennessee State University.

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