Foraging effort and range of honey bees and bumble bees
Optimal foraging theory predicts that animals should forage in such a manner as to maximize their net energy gain. Within optimal foraging theory, central place foraging accounts for animals that must depart from and return to a central location with enough resources for themselves, and in many cases, for the group. We use Radio frequency Identification (RFID) to examine and compare the foraging strategies of bumble bees and honey bees in a common agricultural landscape over the flowering season. We compare the strategies among three distinct sites. We also collect pollen provision from bees returning to the hive at these three sites throughout the flowering season to identify the plants pollen was collected from and identify and compare the foraging range of these two bee species over time and space. We use optimal foraging theory to make predictions for the two bee species and tested these predictions using the foraging and pollen data.