Brazilian Journal of Biology
Print version ISSN 1519-6984
BASTOS, EMAF.; SANTANA, RA.; CALACA-COSTA, AGF. and THIAGO, PS.. Interaction between Apis mellifera L. and Baccharis dracunculifolia DC, that favours green propolis production in Minas Gerais. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2011, vol.71, n.3, pp. 727-734. ISSN 1519-6984. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-69842011000400018.
In Minas Gerais, green propolis is produced from the collection of resinous substance found in shoot apices of Baccharis dracunculifolia. The aim of this study was to evaluate the biological parameters associated with the interaction Apis mellifera x Baccharis dracunculifolia, to elucidate the supply of resin for green propolis production in Minas Gerais. We selected male and female individuals of two populations of Baccharis dracunculifolia located on São Judas Tadeu Farm - FSJT, in the municipality of Betim, MG and the Experimental Garden of the Ezequiel Dias Foundation - HORTO, located in an urban area in Belo Horizonte, MG. We made weekly observations, from June 2007 to June 2008, and evaluated in both populations: richness and abundance of insect visitors; resin collecting visits of Apis mellifera; presence of Baccharopelma dracunculifoliae galls; growth of individuals and phenological phases. Statistical analyses were made using R software. The rainy season showed the highest number of visitors. A. mellifera collected resin in shoot apices of Baccharis dracunculifolia from August to April, only in the FSJT population, where galls of B. dracunculifoliae were also present. Ovoposition of gall inductor on host plants occurs during the rainy season, when there is a peak of visitants and resin collecting visits of honeybees. This fact stimulates plant defense strategies against parasitoids and predators, which includes the production of several secondary metabolites, and ultimately reduces competition for food by inhibiting the attack of other phytophagous insects, not adapted to the chemical environment of plant tissues. Green propolis production in Minas Gerais is related to the abundant supply of resin by Baccharis dracunculifolia, when they are parasitised by B. dracunculifoliae galls. They induce plant production of defense exudates, which attract Apis mellifera bees to collect resin and consequently favour the production of green propolis.
Keywords : green propolis; galls; Baccharis dracunculifolia; Apis mellifera; Baccharopelma dracunculifoliae.