Honeybee forage plants and visitation counts on different forage plants during day.
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This survey was conducted between October 2020 and January 2021 in Adekokwok and Amach Sub-county of Lira District, Northern Uganda. The aim was to determine the honeybee forage plants and assess honeybee visitation counts on different forage plants in Amach and Adekokwok Sub-county of Lira district in order to achieve the objective of the study, fifteen representative bee farmers with well-established apiaries were selected. The preferred forage plants were noted by the help of the questionnaire to fifteen beekeepers, two entomologists and independent field observation on plants that are visited by honeybees. A total of twenty two plant species Sorghum bicholor, Zea mays, Sorghum arundinaceum, Biden pilosa, Acacia seyal, Acacia senegal, Acacia sieberiana, Acacia hochii, Acacia mellifera, Acacia polyacantha, Crotolaria juncea, Glycine max, Gossypium hirsutum, Hibiscus aponeurus, Eucalyptus camaldulencis, Eucalyptus citriodora , Ananas comosus, Coffea camephora, Ricinus communis, Tamarndus indica, Agava sisalana eucalyptus maculate. The areas selected had honeybee forage sources that can support bee farming. The most common forage plant species were Sorghum bicolor, Biden pilosa and Ananas cosmosus. Amach Sub-county had the greatest number of honeybee forage plant species that were visited by honeybees during the study period. There was statistical significant difference in visitation times of honeybees on different forage plants suggesting variation in the honeybee counts at different times of the day. Pair-wise comparison demonstrated a statistical significant differences in honeybee foraging counts between 11am-4pm (p=0.007) and between 1:30pm – 4pm (p= 0.029). However, there was no statistical difference between the honeybee forage counts at 11am-1:30pm (p=0.812). The honeybee forage counts were higher at 11am followed by 1:30pm and lowest at 4pm. This study recommends that the use of pesticides should be in the late afternoon when the bee visitation to the forage plants is slow. Beekeepers should plant more honeybee forage plants that have been identified in this study or crops that can act as sources forage in cases where the natural honeybee forage plants are not available.