We saw honeybees robbing nectar from Grevillea masonii recently.

A Feral Honeybee, Apis mellifera, on a Grevillea masonii flower – going nowhere near the pollen presenter or stigma! Photo by Joshua Whitehead.

The actual pollinators we observed were all birds – several species of honeyeater. They didn’t appear to be disturbed by the honeybees feeding in the same shrub. It’s possible though ( as shown in other studies) that the birds had to forage over more plants to get enough food resources owing to the nectar depletion by the honeybees. Perhaps the honeybees actually encouraged more outcrossing as a result – Our breeding system work showed the grevillea to be an obligate outcrossing species so the honeybees could be having an indirect positive effect on seed set….. food for thought and another study.

It seems to be a common problem (if it is a problem) for grevilleas – we’ve seen honeybees stealing nectar from other species such as G. beadleana, another threatened species, seen here (below) in Guy Fawkes River National Park recently:

Apis mellifera feeding on nectar from flowers of Grevillea beadleana. Photo by David Mackay.

Judging by the lack of any pollen remaining on the pollen presenters it appears the real pollinators of this grevillea – shown to be Eastern Spinebill honeyeaters in a study by Caroline L. Gross – are doing a fine job of pollination, and we saw plenty of fruit being set (below) …..

Successful fruit set in Grevillea beadleana. Photo by David Mackay.

… and plenty of seedlings germinating under dead adult plants after recent fire:

Seedlings of Grevillea beadleana germinating under a recently burnt adult plant at Guy Fawkes River National Park, October 2020. Photo by David mackay

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