Social bees are important pollinators worldwide, including honeybees, bumblebees and stingless bees, the latter being particularly important in the tropics. Stingless bees do not only depend on pollen and nectar, but also intensively collect the sticky and potentially toxic resin from tree wounds. Obviously not for nutrition, but for nest building and/or defense against predators and pathogens.
Gemma Villagómez has investigated colonies from seven species of stingless bees in our study area as part of her PhD thesis in Sara Leonhardt’s and Alexander Keller’s labs. Their new paper in Ecology & Evolution showed that resin collection varied across species, which had interesting side effects on pollen and nectar collection from flowers.
Villagomez G, Keller A, Rasmussen C, Lozano P, Donoso D, Blüthgen N, Leonhardt S (2024) Nutrients or resin? The relationship between resin and food foraging in stingless bees. Ecology and Evolution 14: e10879