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Volume   Journal

International
II Number 2 2011for Environmental Rehabilitation and Conservation
[23-28]
Volume II No. 2 2011
[ISSN 0975 - 6272] [50 - 57] Krishan, et[ISSN
al. 0975 - 6272] 
 

Seasonal variation in bee forage of Apis cerana bees in urban area of


Nagpur due to the varied plant diversity

S. D. Godghate, K.J. Cherian and M. Bhowal

Received: May 12, 2011 ⏐ Accepted: August 16, 2011 ⏐ Online: December 27, 2011

Abstract
Analysis of pollen contents of honey samples economic plants, avenue plant, and wasteland
provides reliable information regarding floral plants as a food source and it was found that
resources and the preference of bees among the bees find the richer biodiversity and much
the diverse assemblages of plants species in wider range of flower in the urban areas that
the region. The knowledge of the pollen flora they visit.
of an area is a basic tool for the development
Introduction
of apiculture. For the present investigation, an
apiary of Apis cerana indica colony was setup Honey bees are the true bio indicators of the
in the garden of Hislop College, Nagpur. nature. The bees and flower are classical
Honey samples and pollen loads were example of mutualism and co-evolution and
collected during the period Jan 2010 – Dec play an important role in pollination in which
2010. For defining the seasonal variation in process they not only enhance agricultural
bee forage components of the vegetation of production but also play an important role to
Nagpur, pollen analysis was done. Total of maintain the ecosystem, biodiversity and
twenty nine pollen types were identified as conservation, Deodikar and Suryanarayana,
bee forage utilized by the bees. It was also 1977. The bees are entirely dependent on
observed that bees not only forage on the floral resources like nectar and pollen for their
garden plants but use the crop plants, socio- development Crane, 1990.The adequate
availability of pollen and nectar components
Keywords: Biodiversity ⏐ Bee forage ⏐ Apis
has directly helped for the development of
cerana indica ⏐ Nagpur ⏐ colony, for successful beekeeping. The
For correspondence: beekeepers must have reliable information on
the availability and abundance of pollen and
Department of Botany, Hislop College, Nagpur, Maharashtra,
India nectar yielding plants during different seasons
Email: cherian_kj@yahoo.in,
of the year including their location. Rao, 1998
Some flowers are nectar yielder and some are
pollen yielder and some produce both nectar
Seasonal variation in bee forage of Apis cerana bees in urban area of Nagpur due to the varied plant diversity
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Volume II Number 2 2011 [50 - 57]
[ISSN 0975 - 6272] Godghate, et al.

and pollen. Thus it is essential to identifying pollen analysis. Pollen load were also
such plants which provide nectar and pollen, collected from worker bees directly by
because all flowers do not produce nectar & trapping few workers at the time of entry into
pollen (Phadke, 2005). Evaluation of plants the apiary along with the pollens.
for their utility as sources of bee forage
Melittopalynological analysis: -10 gm of
provides the information needed to asses the
extracted honey Capped or Uncapped was
potential for beekeeping in a area Mosses et
dissolved in 25 ml distilled water and
al. 1987, Ramanujam, 1991. Thus
centrifuged. The recovered sediment was
Melittopalynology as branch of palynology
treated with 5 ml of Glacial Acetic Acid and
studies pollen and spores in honey help to
the mixture was subjected to Acetolysis
provide the information needed for bee
Erdtman, (1960).Three Pollen slides were
management and beekeeping development
prepared from each sample. The recovered
and help to maintain the ecosystem. It seems
pollen types were identified with the help of
to play a crucial socioeconomic role for rural
reference slides prepared from the local flora
people ensuring for them an important
and relevant literature. All the pollen types
melliferous potentials. Numbers of
were identified to generic and specific levels.
investigation have been related in pollen
A few types which could not be identified
analysis of honey from India are Sen &
even to family level were normally placed
Banerjee 1956, Suryanarayana 1966,
under the category, “Unknown”. A thorough
Seethalakshmi 1980, Jhansi et al. 1994,
survey and study of pollen from vegetation
Agashe & Rangaswamy 1997, Bhusari 2005,
helped to complete identification the pollens
Bhargava 2009, Vishwakarma & Ghatak
observed from the honey samples. The
2009, Attri 2010, Tiwari 2010,
frequency classes and frequencies of the
Balsubramanyam 2011, Cherian et al. 2011.
pollen types of each sample were determined
in accordance with Louveaux, et al, (1978).
MATERIAL AND METHODS Pollen spectra of the honey samples were
For the present study full grown strong constructed based on the Frequencies of the
Apiary of Apis cerana indica was setup in the pollen types. Discrete pollen loads were
Garden of Hislop College civil lines, Nagpur. observed neatly stacked one above the other
Even though Nagpur is a city, it has very in the pollen storing chamber of the combs. A
good vegetation with a large water tank and total 26 pollen load were directly taken out
several small water bodies and good with fine needle and forceps from pollen
vegetation in and around the city. 11 honey storing chambers, during the month of
samples were collected with the help of February to December 2010 on basis of their
centrifugal Extractor .And at the same time, color. Each pollen load was dispersed in 5 ml
the stored pollen load was also collected with of glacial acetic acid. After centrifuging the
the help of forceps according to their color for acid was decanted and the sediment was

Seasonal variation in bee forage of Apis cerana bees in urban area of Nagpur due to the varied plant diversity
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subjected to Acetolysis technique of Erdtman, coinizoides L., ,Gaillardia sp.),


(1960). One slide was prepared for each Amaranthaceae (Alternanthera sessilis L.),
pollen load, the pollen loads were designated Combretaceae (Terminalia sp., Quisqualis
as unifloral (exclusively with pollen grains of indica L.), Myrtaceae (Syzigium cumini L.
one taxa, and multifloral or mixed (with Skeels., Psidium guajava L.),Liliaceae (
pollen grains of two or more than two taxa), Allium cepa L.), Fabaceae ( Pongamia
Mithilesh Sharma, (1970). pinnata Pierre.) Portalaceae ( Portulaca
oleraceae L.), Balsaminaceae (Impatiens
balsamina L.),Bombacaceae (Bombex ceiba
RESULTS & DISCUSSION
L.), Lamiaceae (Hyptis suaveolens L.),
Pollen analysis of honey & Pollen load:-
Mimosaceae (Albizia lebbeck L.), and minor
A total of 29 plant species belong to 18 pollen were Ammi majus L. and Parthenium
families have been identified as bee forage hysterophorous L. ,of family Apiaceae and
(Table-I, Table-II & Table-III) for Apis Asteraceae.
cerana. Out of 11 honey samples six, sample
From the analysis of 26 pollen load from a
found to be unifloral, having a predominant
single apiary in the different months showed
pollen types belonging to family Meliaceae
that out of 26 pollen load 25 pollen loads
(Azadiracta indica A.Juss.), Caesalpiniaceae
were found to be unifloral and 1 pollen load
(Delonix regia (Bojer ex Hook.), Tamarindus
was multifloral. The analysis of pollen load
indica L.), Asteraceae (Chrysanthemum sp.)
showed that the taxa Brassica campestris L.,
and remaining five samples found to be
Chrysanthemum sp., Bombex ceiba L.,
multifloral consisting of two or more pollen
Prosophis julifera (Sw)DC., Delonix regia
types, forming the secondary pollen types
(Bojer ex Hook.), Caesalpinia sp.,
consisting of the member of Brassicaceae
Tamarindus indica L., Feronia elephantum
(Brassica campestris L.), Anacardiaceae
L., Psidium guajava L., Alternanthera
(Mangifera indica L.), Asteraceae
sessilis L., Parthenium hysterophorous L.,
(Chrysanthemum sp., Ageratum conyzoides
Poaceae, represent the major pollen sources
L.), Amaranthaceae (Alternanthera sessilis
and Ageratum coinizoides L., Psidium
L.), Meliaceae (Azadiracta indica A.Juss..),
guajava L., Ammi majus L., Celosia sp.,
Myrtaceae (Syzigium cumini L. Skeels.,
Albizia lebbeck L, are the secondary major
Psidium guajava L.), Caesalpinaceae
important pollen sources. A detailed account
(Caesalpinia sp., Tamarindus indica L.),
of number of pollen loads collected from each
Rutaceae (Feronia elephantum L.),
combs and their analysis of pollen contents
Balsaminaceae (Impatiens balsamina L.),
given in (Table-II).
Lamiaceae (Hyptis suaveolens L..),
From (Table-I & II) it is seen that the
Mimosaceae (Albizia lebbeck L.),Lythraceae
predominant pollen types more than 45 % in
(Lagerstromia indica L.) and other important
honey was represented by Azadiracta indica
minor pollen were Asteraceae (Ageratum

Seasonal variation in bee forage of Apis cerana bees in urban area of Nagpur due to the varied plant diversity
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A. Juss., Delonix regia (Bojer ex Hook.), sp., Melia Azadiracta A.Juss., and Poaceae
Tamarindus indica L., Chrysanthemum sp. It only found in the pollen loads that means bees
was observed that most of the genera are preferred these plants only for pollen grains.
represented in both the honey sample as well Some flowers are nectar yielder and some are
as in pollen load, while the divergence is that pollen yielder and some produce both nectar
some pollen grain of genera Mangifera and pollen. Thus it is essential to identifying
indica L, Quisqualis indica L., Terminalia such plants which provide nectar and pollen,
sp., Pongamia pinnata pierre., Lagerstromia because all flowers do not produce nectar or
indica L., Azadiracta indica A.Juss., pollen. Phadke, 2005. So the present
Portulaca oleraceae L.are found only in investigation is concentrated on identification
honey sample and not found in pollen load of these bee forage plants, their flowering
that means this plants offers only nectar to the period and foraging preference in this area.
bees, so bees only forage on these genera only (Table-III).
for nectar source and pollen grain of Celosia

Table-I Pollen analysis of honey sample

Seasonal variation in bee forage of Apis cerana bees in urban area of Nagpur due to the varied plant diversity
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Table-II colour and Botanical source of


pollen load of Apis cerana indica

Seasonal variation in bee forage of Apis cerana bees in urban area of Nagpur due to the varied plant diversity
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M=Multifloral, U= Unifloral, N=Nectar, P=Pollen, 1=Major source, 2=Medium source, 3=minor source.
Table-III Identified Bee Forage of Nagpur

Seasonal variation in bee forage of Apis cerana bees in urban area of Nagpur due to the varied plant diversity
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CONCLUSION analysis of Apis Honey, Karnataka,


It is an established fact that there is more India. Apiacta 44; 14-19.
diversity of flowers in cities, since the Balsubramanyam. M. V. (2011): Quantitative
gardens, parks; road sides’ plantation, chemical variations in repining of
wastelands etc were planted with different honey of Indigeous hive bee Apis
species. The introduced & original species cerana indica .Int. journal of Applied
were maintained basically for beatification of Biology and Pharmaceutical
the city by Government agencies. It was also Technology Vol.2.Issue 3; 391-397.
observed that bees not only forage on the
Crane. E. From Honey. (1990): A
garden plants but use the crop plants,
comphressive survey,Heineman,
socioeconomic plants, avenue plant, and
London; P 175-190.
wasteland plants as a food source and it was
found that the bees find the richer biodiversity Cherian. K.J., M. Bhowal & Godghate S.D.
and much wider range of flower in the urban (2011): Pollen and Physicochemical
areas for their well maintained and low analysis of honey produced by Apis
polluted cities can very well promote the cerana indica of Nagpur,
beekeeping due to its richer biodiversity in Maharashtra. Journal of
bee forage that they visit. Environmental Research and
Development Bhopal (India), Vol.5
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