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Comparative Pollination Effectiveness Among Bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) on Lowbush Blueberry (Ericaceae: Vaccinium angustifolium)

S. K. Javorek, K. E. Mackenzie, S. P. Vander Kloet
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0013-8746(2002)095[0345:CPEABH]2.0.CO;2 345-351 First published online: 1 May 2002

Abstract

The pollination effectiveness (floral visitation rate, percentage of flowers pollinated, and pollen deposition) of indigenous and introduced bees visiting lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton) was studied in Nova Scotia from 1992 to 1994. Floral visitation rate alone was not a good indicator of pollination effectiveness, as not all floral visits resulted in successful pollination events. As a group, pollen-harvesting taxa pollinated >85% of flowers visited as compared with under 25% for nectar foragers. Equivalencies derived from floral visitation rates and pollination percentages show that the most effective pollen-harvesters, Bombus spp. queens and Andrena spp., would pollinate 6.5 and 3.6 flowers, respectively, in the time it would take a nectar-foraging honey bee, Apis mellifera L., to pollinate a single flower. Average pollen deposition for nectar-foragers (A. mellifera and Megachile rotundata F.) did not exceed 13 tetrads per visit, which was significantly less than all pollen-harvesters. Among pollen-harvesters, Bombus spp. workers, M. rotundata and Halictus spp. deposited moderate stigmatic loads (34, 28, and 26 tetrads, respectively), whereas Bombus spp. queens and Andrena spp. deposited >45 tetrads per single visit. Pollination equivalencies show A. mellifera would have to visit a flower four times to deposit the same amount of pollen as single visits by Bombus spp. queens or Andrena spp.

  • Bombus
  • Andrena
  • Apis
  • honey bee
  • Megachile
  • blueberry

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