1.4 Honey bee nectar foragers feeding themselves and the colony: a review in support of dietary exposure assessment

  • Sara Rodney Intrinsik Corp, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Carleton Campus, CTTC-3600 Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1S 5R1
  • John Purdy Abacus Consulting Services Ltd, 8725 Twiss Road, P.O. Box 323, Campbellville, ON, Canada, L0P 1B0


Quantitative knowledge regarding the foods collected and ingested by nectar foraging honey bees (Apis mellifera) is essential for accurately assessing risk associated with pesticide residues in their diet. Although a very large and diverse body of research is available covering many years of research in the literature, much of this research was designed for purposes other than risk assessment and the accumulated knowledge has not been comprehensively reviewed and consolidated from the viewpoint of pesticide risk assessment. Accordingly, in the interest of advancing all tiers of pollinator risk assessment, and identifying data gaps, we strove to gather, assess, and summarize quantitative data relating to nectar forager collection, consumption and sharing of nectar within the colony. Data pertaining to nectar forager provisioning before foraging flights, quantities of nectar brought back to the hive, frequency and duration of foraging trips and energetics was reviewed. Recommendations for future research in support of refined honey bee risk assessment will be discussed.