Mexican creeper, Antigonon leptopus Hook. and Arn : An effective bee forage plant to conserve honey bee
Decline in honey bee populations has become a matter of concern and their conservation is very essential to sustain essential ecosystem services. They provide making available continuous supply of floral resources is of immense value in conserving honey bees. The effectiveness of an ornamental creeper, Antigonon leptopus Hook. & Arn as a sustainable bee forage plant was evaluated. It attracts four major native species of honey bees viz., Apis cerana, A. florea, A. dorsata and Tetragonula iridipennis. The wild little bee, A. florea was the most dominant forager followed by the Indian bee, A. cerana. The plant is amenable for easy multiplication through seeds as well as cuttings and meets both aesthetic and ecological needs. Using Antigonon, different studies related to honey bees like assessing species diversity, foraging behaviour, temperature driven shifts etc. can be carried out. Popularising perennial bee flora like Antigonon would help in conserving honey bees in both natural and urban habitats. Since Antigonon attracts all species of honey bees throughout the year, it could be utilized as a potential bioindicator of honey bee populations in a given environment.
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