Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




A one year study was conducted on pollen collection, nectar foraging, and honey production of Africanized and European honey bees in the neotropics (Venezuela). Africanized bees had a larger proportion of their foraging force foraging for pollen and therefore collected significantly larger quantities of pollen. This higher amount of collected pollen provides the protein necessary to support increased brood production and thereby increases the opportunities for Africanized colonies to cast multiple swarms through an annual cycle. Distinctly different patterns in nectar foraging by Africanized and European bees were detected. Africanized bees had lower proportions of the foraging force engaged in foraging for nectar only, but had a higher proportion foraging for both nectar and pollen. Africanized bees collected lower volumes of nectar per foraging trip than European bees, but returned to the colony with nectars having higher sugar content. The two geographical types contributed similar amounts of joules per average forager, and therefore, made similar net contributions of carbohydrates to the colony. However, European colonies always had more stored honey than Africanized colonies. Although the two geographical types exhibited different foraging patterns, these differences did not account for all the observed differences in stored honey. Honey production was studied by examining the weights of colonies of Africanized and European bees. Also under consideration was the effect on colony weights of supplemental feeding of sugar syrup prior to the nectar flow. Significant geographical type differences in colony weights were detected in one apiary. Africanized colonies fed one liter of sugar syrup twice a week had lower colony weights than European colonies fed similarly. This apiary exhibited the highest colony and honey weights. In a second apiary, significant differences in colony weights were detected between colonies fed one or three liters of sugar syrup. Africanized colonies fed one liter had higher colony and honey weights. These data support previous work where European bees were observed to be better honey producers in areas with stronger nectar flows, while the reverse was observed for Africanized bees. Finally, feeding three liters of sugar syrup twice a week proved detrimental to colony build up.