Regulation of nectar collection in relation to honey storage levels by honey bees, Apis mellifera

Jennifer Fewell, Mark L. Winston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Honey bees collect distinct nutrient sources in the form nectar (energy) and pollen (nitrogen). We investigated the effect of varying energy store on nectar and pollen foraging. We found no significant changes in nectar foraging in response to changes in honey storage levels within colonies. Individual forages did not activity rates or nectar sizes in response to changes in honey stores, and colonies did not increase nectar rates when honey stores within the hive were decreased. This result contrasts with pollen foraging behavior, which is extremely sensitive to colony state. Our data show that individual foraging decision during nectar and colony regulation of nectar intake are distinctly different from pollen foraging. The behavior of honey bees illustrate that foraging strategy (and therefore foraging models) can incorporate multiple currencies, including both energy and protein intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-291
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


  • foraging theory
  • honey bees
  • nectar foraging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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