The foraging behaviour of honeybees on ornamental Malus spp. used as pollinizers in apple orchards.
The flowers of 3 ornamental Malus species (M. aldenhamensis, M. floribunda and M. cv. Golden Hornet), and the flowers of Cox, Worcester and Lambourne were all equally attractive to honeybees. The numbers of bees visiting each species or cultivar was positively correlated with the abundance of its flowers. In a Cox orchard with ornamental Malus species grafted into the trees, honeybees tended to remain constant to the species on which they were first seen. However, a higher proportion of bees interchanged between Cox and Malus flowers on the rows with M. floribunda and M. cv. Golden Hornet grafts than they did on rows grafted with M. aldenhamensis.Interchange was less frequent when the colour of the ornamental Malus contrasted with that of the cropping cultivar. The position of grafts in the tops of the trees and their arrangement in discrete rows may also have reduced interchange.J. M. Gedye