Journal of Apicultural Science

Bee pollination of fruit trees: recent advances and research perspectives I

Journal of Apicultural Science. Volume 47, Issue 1, Pages 87-94, ISSN (Print) 1643-4439
Intense research was carried out on the bee pollination of temperate zone deciduous fruit trees during the past decade. Much progress was achieved to explore the flower characters of a great number of cultivars affecting honeybee activity at flowers and their pollinating efficiency. Flower characters were found to be consequently different among apple and pear cultivars in consecutive years but in case of some stone fruits differences between consecutive years were greater than between cultivars in given years. The necessity of bee pollination was clearly demonstrated both at self-sterile and at self-fertile fruit cultivars. The rate of flower constancy of honeybee foragers was different at different fruit tree species but the role of competing plants was found to be much less deleterious than stated in the literature earlier. However, a number of questions arose partly from the results of latest pollination research and partly from practical experiences in commercial plant production. These indicate several research tasks to understand and to solve the problems possibly in the near future. The questions concentrate on the effectiveness of bee visits in the pollination of individual fruit crops and their different cultivars and on the reliable estimate of the overall amount of bees as well as on the control of bee density during the flowering period of fruit orchards for optimal, controlled honeybee pollination. Much less effort was made to manage native wild bees for fruit tree pollination, however, some mason bees seem to be promising for this purpose in Europe, The Far East and North America.
insect pollination, honeybees, temperate zone deciduous fruit crops
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