Source: Honeybee Nutrition and Behavior

A) Pollen quantity and quality: plant responses to stress  

Recent honeybee declines may be influenced by pollen/nectar quality that compromise a bees’ ability to cope with environmental challenges, including disease and stress. Plants facing drought compromise floral trait expression which in turn can affect bee health. We are studying how drought stress in canola (Brassica napus) affects the floral reward quantity and quality. We are also monitoring the quality of bee hive pollen when foraging on crops under abiotic stress.

B) Floral chemicals

Plant-pollinator mutualism go beyond floral traits and pollinator behavior. Pollinators have evolved to take advantage of diverse floral chemicals. Increasing our knowledge of the chemical relationships between bees and plants is an important step towards understanding the intricacies of hive function and honeybee colony management. Ongoing studies aim to understand the role of key phytochemicals in promoting honeybee health.

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Source: Honeybee Nutrition and Behavior