The exclusion of pollinating insects by covering strawberry plots with screen cages during bloom resulted in significant yield reductions and delayed fruit maturity in each of 4 years of tests. Fruit size of the cultivars ‘Tennessee Beauty’ and ‘Earlibelle’ was reduced as a result of caging but no significant size reduction occurred in caged plots of the cultivar ‘Blakemore’. A much higher per cent of fruit from caged plots was malformed and misshapen than fruit from uncaged plots or plots caged with honeybees.
Comparisons of data from plots in which insects were excluded with plots caged with honeybees and plots covered with open cages indicate that the results obtained from caging are primarily due to incomplete pollination as a result of insect exclusion. The data obtained support the conclusion that insect pollination is beneficial in strawberry production and that native bee conservation should be practiced in the vicinity of strawberry plantations.