Revista Brasileira de Entomologia
Print version ISSN 0085-5626
GRAJALES-CONESA, Julieta; MELENDEZ RAMIREZ, Virginia; CRUZ-LOPEZ, Leopoldo and SANCHEZ GUILLEN, Daniel. Effect of Citrus floral extracts on the foraging behavior of the stingless bee Scaptotrigona pectoralis (Dalla Torre). Rev. Bras. entomol. [online]. 2012, vol.56, n.1, pp. 76-80. ISSN 0085-5626. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0085-56262012000100012.
Effect of Citrus floral extracts on the foraging behavior of the stingless bee Scaptotrigona pectoralis (Dalla Torre). Stingless bees have an important role as pollinators of many wild and cultivated plant species in tropical regions. Little is known, however, about the interaction between floral fragrances and the foraging behavior of meliponine species. Thus we investigated the chemical composition of the extracts of citric (lemon and orange) flowers and their effects on the foraging behavior of the stingless bee Scaptotrigona pectoralis. We found that each type of flower has its own specific blend of major compounds: limonene (62.9%) for lemon flowers, and farnesol (26.5%), (E)-nerolidol (20.8%), and linalool (12.7%) for orange flowers. In the foraging experiments the S. pectoralis workers were able to use the flower extracts to orient to the food source, overlooking plates baited with hexane only. However, orange flower extracts were seemingly more attractive to these worker bees, maybe because of the particular blend present in it. Our results reveal that these fragrances are very attractive to S. pectoralis, so we can infer that within citric orchards they could be important visitors in the study area; however habitat destruction, overuse of pesticides and the competitive override by managed honeybees might have put at risk their populations and thus the ecological services they provide to us.
Keywords : Citrus; foraging; flower volatiles; Scaptotrigona pectoralis; stingless bee.