The opportunity to introduce Phacelia tanacetifolia is still being debated, even if the species is already employed, as it is often sown in rotational set-aside schemes or to support pollinators. Therefore, we need further evidence on its effects on the environment and its attractiveness towards pollinators. This work aims at confirming its appeal towards the honeybee in a mixed agricultural and urban environment in the north of Italy, during late spring and early autumn flowering. We assessed flowering characteristics and honeybee visitation rates by employing observational plots; we recorded resource preferences and behaviours by focal observations and video records; finally, we annotated other flower visitors. Each plant is characterised by one or more flowering stems on which not all flowers open at the same time: an increased number of flowers is, therefore, due to an increase in the number of available flowering stems. Honeybees were highly interested in lacy phacelia resources, especially in nectar collection: pollen collection may not be sufficiently rewarding for bees to dedicate time to it. The only correlation we found was between visitation rates and temperature. Other insects were recorded visiting the flowers: these were especially Hymenoptera; Coleoptera and Lepidoptera were also abundant, while relatively few individuals of Hemiptera and Diptera were recorded. Our results indicate that the mass-flowering of the species is certainly of interest to local pollinators and can be considered to counteract their decline when sown as a single species or in flower mixtures. However, further studies are needed to assess the competition of this plant with native species and its ability to self-regenerate when not purposely planted.

Influence of flowering characteristics, local environment, and daily temperature on the visits paid by Apis mellifera to the exotic crop Phacelia tanacetifolia / M. Giovanetti, S. Malabusini, M. Zugno, D. Lupi. - In: SUSTAINABILITY. - ISSN 2071-1050. - 14:16(2022 Aug 16), pp. 10186.1-10186.12. [10.3390/su141610186]

Influence of flowering characteristics, local environment, and daily temperature on the visits paid by Apis mellifera to the exotic crop Phacelia tanacetifolia

S. Malabusini
Secondo
;
M. Zugno
Penultimo
;
D. Lupi
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

The opportunity to introduce Phacelia tanacetifolia is still being debated, even if the species is already employed, as it is often sown in rotational set-aside schemes or to support pollinators. Therefore, we need further evidence on its effects on the environment and its attractiveness towards pollinators. This work aims at confirming its appeal towards the honeybee in a mixed agricultural and urban environment in the north of Italy, during late spring and early autumn flowering. We assessed flowering characteristics and honeybee visitation rates by employing observational plots; we recorded resource preferences and behaviours by focal observations and video records; finally, we annotated other flower visitors. Each plant is characterised by one or more flowering stems on which not all flowers open at the same time: an increased number of flowers is, therefore, due to an increase in the number of available flowering stems. Honeybees were highly interested in lacy phacelia resources, especially in nectar collection: pollen collection may not be sufficiently rewarding for bees to dedicate time to it. The only correlation we found was between visitation rates and temperature. Other insects were recorded visiting the flowers: these were especially Hymenoptera; Coleoptera and Lepidoptera were also abundant, while relatively few individuals of Hemiptera and Diptera were recorded. Our results indicate that the mass-flowering of the species is certainly of interest to local pollinators and can be considered to counteract their decline when sown as a single species or in flower mixtures. However, further studies are needed to assess the competition of this plant with native species and its ability to self-regenerate when not purposely planted.
lacy phacelia; Apis mellifera; pollinators
Settore AGR/11 - Entomologia Generale e Applicata
CAR_EXT20DLUPI_01 - Un APproccio Integrato per lo studio degli apoidei dei Sistemi urbani col supporto di tecnologie mobili e GIS (API-GIS) - LUPI, DANIELA - CAR_EXT - CARIPLO - EXTRABANDO E PROGETTI TERRITORIALI - 2020
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/936528
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