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  • Author or Editor: John T. Ambrose x
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Abstract

“Sideworking,” a foraging behavior of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) which does not result in pollination, previously has been reported to occur on blossoms of ‘Delicious’ cultivar (Malus domestica Borkh.). “Sideworking” is also apparent on the blossoms of ‘Golden Delicious’ cultivar. The structure of a ‘Golden Delicious’ blossom, a commonly used pollinizer of ‘Delicious’ cultivar, permits honey bees to forage for nectar by standing on the petals of the blossom while forcing their proboscises through the stamens. As a result, the honey bees usually do not contact the blossom’s anthers and pollen transfer is unlikely. In an orchard of ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Delicious’ cultivars where ‘Delicious’ bloomed slightly ahead of ‘Golden Delicious’, the percentage of honey bees working from the side on the blossoms of ‘Golden Delicious’ was initially high but dropped as the bloom of ‘Golden Delicious’ advanced. A preponderance of sideworking honey bees on the pollinizer ‘Golden Delicious’ during the period in which the blossoms of ‘Delicious’ optimally set fruit might have a negative effect on fruit shape and/or fruit set of ‘Delicious’ apples.

Open Access

The need for alternative [non-honey bee (Apis mellifera L.)] pollinators continues to increase as the number of problems facing the American beekeeping industry increase. One readily available alternative pollinator source is commercially produced bumblebee (Bombus spp.) colonies. From 1997 to 1999, three studies were conducted to compare the pollination efficacy of bumblebee and honeybee pollinators on field-grown watermelon. The experiments documented 1) bee activity periods (the onset and termination of foraging behavior in association with watermelon anthesis and duration), 2) floral visitation rates (number of flowers visited per unit time by individual foragers), and 3) stigmatic pollen deposition (number of pollen grains deposited on stigmata during single bee visits to pistillate watermelon flowers over the course of anthesis). Bumblebees outperformed honeybees in all three comparative experiments. Bombus foragers initiated foraging activity 30 to 60 min before the appearance of the first honey bee foragers. Both bee types continued to forage throughout anthesis once appearing in the field. Individual bumblebees consistently visited two or more times the number of flowers per min than did honeybees (P < 0.0001) throughout the day excluding the initial 30 to 60 min when honeybees did not forage. The number of pollen grains deposited in an initial visit to stigmata by Bombus foragers was consistently greater than for honeybees (P < 0.001). For both bee types, pollen deposition was influenced by time of day, peaking at 0900 hr and then declining until 1200 HR, when the flowers closed. Both foraging rates and pollen deposition favored bumblebees over honeybees regardless of time of day.

Free access

Abstract

A simple measure of fruit asymmetry was used to evaluate fruit shape in ‘Delicious’ apple (Malus domestica Borkh.). The maximum/minimum length ratio, the ratio of the maximum distance between an individual calyx lobe and the stem end shoulder of the fruit to the minimum distance between calyx lobe and stem end shoulder, gave consistent results for evaluating normal and abnormal fruit shape.

Open Access

The effectiveness of bumble bees, Bombus impatiens, and honey bees, Apis mellifera, on the pollination of watermelon, Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.), was compared at the individual bee level. Correlations between the number of bee visits a flower received and the resultant seed set and fruit abortion rates were established. Using `Royal Jubilee' watermelon, B-impatiens-visited flowers resulted in higher seed sets than A. mellifera when compared at equal bee visit numbers. This difference between bee types was highly significant. With respect to fruit abortion rates, no statistical difference between bee types was detected. However, bee visit count was significant. Increasing the number of bee visits received by a flower resulted in a lower percentage of aborted fruit.

Free access

The effectiveness of bumblebees, Bombus impatiens, and honeybees, Apis mellifera, on the pollination of cucumber, Cucumis sativus, was compared at the individual bee level. A correlation between the number of bee visits a flower received and the resultant seed set was established. In both cucumber varieties, `Calypso' and `Dasher II', B. impatiens-visited flowers consistently had higher seed sets than A. mellifera when compared at equal visit numbers. This difference between bee types was found to be highly significant.

Free access

The effectiveness of two commercial bee attractants, Bee-Scent and Beeline, for enhancing pollination of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) and watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] was evaluated by counting the number of bee visitations to blossoms of cucumber and watermelon and their effect(s) on fruit quality, yield, and crop profitability. In 1989, Bee-Scent was tested in a commercial pickling cucumber field. In 1990, watermelon plots were sprayed with Bee-Scent and Beeline and compared with a nontreated control. The compounds did not improve bee visitations for either pickling cucumbers or watermelons. There was no significant improvement in cucumber or watermelon yield or monetary returns.

Free access