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Journal Articles Oikos Year : 2022

Seasonal dynamics of competition between honey bees and wild bees in a protected Mediterranean scrubland

Abstract

Due to the widespread use of pesticides and the lack of floral resources in many agricultural landscapes, beekeepers have moved numerous honey bee colonies in protected areas which could shelter an important diversity of wild bees. Here, we investigated the seasonal dynamics of the competition between honey bees and wild bees through a two-year study of plant-bee networks in a Mediterranean protected area. We recorded the visitation rates of four bee groups: honey bees, small wild bees, large wild bees and bumblebees. Our study reveals that the competition for floral resources induced by honey bees is especially strong during the early spring and then decreases along the season for all groups of wild bees. We observed a competitive exclusion of all groups of wild bees illustrated by an avoidance of well-flowered plant species in presence of honey bees. As a consequence, we detected a rewiring of large and small bee floral preferences linked to the presence of honey bees. In presence of honey bees, Rosmarinus officinalis and Cistus albidus were significantly less visited by large bees. This study underlines the need to mitigate the establishment of numerous honey bee colonies in protected areas as honey bees could strongly affect the foraging activity of wild bees.
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Dates and versions

hal-03833113 , version 1 (28-10-2022)

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Lise Ropars, Laurence Affre, Élisa Thébault, Benoît Geslin. Seasonal dynamics of competition between honey bees and wild bees in a protected Mediterranean scrubland. Oikos, 2022, 2022 (4), pp.e08915. ⟨10.1111/oik.08915⟩. ⟨hal-03833113⟩
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