Influence of Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) on the Use of the Most Abundant and Attractive Floral Resources in a Plant Community
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Some factors influence the distribution of abundance of floral visitors, especially the amount and quality of the floral resources available, the size of the area occupied by the visitor, habitat heterogeneity, and the impact caused by natural enemies and introduced species. The objective of this research was to evaluate the distribution of abundance of the foraging activity of native floral visitors and Apis mellifera L. in the most abundant and attractive food sources in a secondary forest fragment with features of Cerrado-Atlantic Forest. Some plant species were selected and the frequency of foraging made by floral visitors was recorded. A high abundance of visits in flowers was performed by A. mellifera. Two factors may have influenced this result: (1) the occupation of the forest fragment predominantly by vines and shrubs at the expenses of vegetation with arboreal characteristics that favored the encounter of the flowering plants by A. mellifera; (2) rational beekeeping of A. mellifera, causing the number of natural swarms which originate annually from colonies of commercial apiaries and colonies previously established in the environment to be very high, thus leading to an increase in the population size of this bee species in the study site. The frequent occurrence of human-induced fire and deforestation within the forest fragment may have reduced the population size of the bee species, including A. mellifera. As the populations of A. mellifera have the capacity to quickly occupy the environment, this species possibly became dominant after successive disturbances made in the forest fragment.