A thesis submitted as part of the requirements for the Degree of B. Sc. (Hons.) in Ecology at the University of Aberdeen 1996.

by Laura Brodie

To publish this on the Internet I have made the following changes

PLATE 1 in my thesis was made up of scanned images taken from Prys-Jones & Corbet's excellent book. To use these here would be an infingement of copyright, so I have replaced the scanned images with digital photographs of my own that were taken at a later date.

Some of the figures have been re-sized and had their font size reduced and the legend moved, this was done to keep the file size small and to take into account the different shape of the monitor screen from the printed A4 page. The figures have also been integrated more with the text.

Nothing else has been changed; even the mistakes have been left in.


  • 1 Introduction
    1.1 Economic importance of bumblebees
    1.2 Life cycle
    1.3 Foraging
    1.4 Aims
  • 2 Materials and methods
    2.1 Site characteristics
    2.2 Pilot study
    2.3 Measuring environmental variables
    2.4 Bee identification
    2.5 The "bee walk"
    2.6 Marking bees and measuring tongue length and head width and length
    2.7 Preference and constancy of bees
    2.8 Measurements and characteristics of flowers foraged by bees during bee walk
  • 3 Results
    3.1 Species observed
    3.2 Proportion of marked bees re-sighted during bee walk
    3.3 The relative changes in size of the populations foraging in the bee walk area
    3.4 Measurements and characteristics of flowers foraged by bees during bee walk
    3.5 Species flower preferences
    3.5.1 Caste flower preference
    3.6 Tongue and head measurements of each species
    3.7 Relationship between tongue length and flower preference
    3.8 Flower preferences of individual bees
    3.8.1 Constancy
    3.9 Environmental variables and their effects on foraging
  • 4 Discussion
    4.1 Species observed and comparative sizes of foraging populations
    4.2 Marking and measuring of bees
    4.3 Species flower preference
    4.4 Individual flower preference
    4.5 Constancy
  • 5 Summary
  • 6 Acknowledgements
  • 7 References

(C) Copyright 1999 L. Smith