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NC State Extension

Farm Photo: Honey Bees Robbing Nectar

April 16, 2008

Photos by Debbie Roos, Agricultural Extension Agent.

honey bee robbing nectar

A honey bee probes for nectar from a robbery slit made by a carpenter bee on a blueberry flower. Honey bees are very important pollinators for blueberries. Researchers have studied the effect of nectar robbing on pollination, since less contact is made with the pollen-loaded stigma. A recent study showed that corolla slitting by carpenter bees had no effect on fruit set in blueberries. Researchers suggested that nectar robbing by carpenter bees may even attract more honey bee pollinators to the blueberry flowers.

honey bee robbing nectar

Several old robbery slits are visible on these blueberry blooms.

carpenter bee robbing nectar

The carpenter bee is considered the primary nectar robber and the honey bee is the secondary nectar thief.
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