Life-cycle and foraging patterns of native Bombus terrestris (L.) (Hymenoptera, Apidae) in the Mediterranean region

GÜREL F., Gosterit A. , Eren O.

INSECTES SOCIAUX, vol.55, no.2, pp.123-128, 2008 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 55 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00040-008-0984-7
  • Title of Journal : INSECTES SOCIAUX
  • Page Numbers: pp.123-128


Life-cycle and foraging patterns of native Bombus terrestris populations were investigated at two sites in the Mediterranean region of Turkey, Phassalis (0 - 100 m above sea level [a.s.l.]) and Termessos (500 - 700 m a.s.l.). Bumble-bee activity was recorded during standard bee walks from November 2003 until the end of October 2004, each site being visited three times every month during the one-year period. The yearly dynamics of flight, the flowering plant species visited, and the visitation frequencies of these plants were recorded during every bee walk at both sites. There were considerable differences between the two populations with regard to the dates when the queens emerged from diapause (the emerging season), the timing of the appearance of sexuals (young queens and males), and the total number of plant species visited. Bombus terrestris queens emerged from diapause in November-December at the Phassalis site (coastal area) and in February-March at the Termessos site. The queens aestivated at the Phassalis site, whereas they hibernated at the Termessos site. Only one generation per year was produced at each site. The duration of the queens' diapause lasted 5 - 8 months and length of the life cycle 190 - 215 days. Native B. terrestris populations were noted to forage on 47 flowering plant species from 20 families (10 at the Phassalis site and 40 at the Termessos site) during the study period. Two of the plant species (Arbutus unedo L. and Vitex agnus-castus L.) have long flowering periods and play a crucial role in the life cycle of native B. terrestris populations. The emergence of queens at the aestivation site was synchronized with the flowering of Arbutus unedo L., while the emergence of sexuals coincided with the flowering of Vitex agnus-castus L. at both sites.