The Carpenter Bee Xylocopa pubescens as an Agricultural Pollinator in GreenhousesAdi Sadeh, Avi Shmida and Tamar Keasar
Department of Evolution, Systematic and Ecology, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
(Received 24 December 2006 - Revised 6 May 2007 - Accepted 22 May 2007 - Published online 13 November 2007)
Abstract - Many greenhouse crops depend on bees for pollination. Global declines of honeybee populations, and their limited efficiency in pollinating some greenhouse food-plants, motivate the search for additional pollinators. We evaluated the carpenter bee X. pubescens, a local species to Israel, as a pollinator of greenhouse-grown honeydew melons, in comparison to honeybees. We recorded the bees' daily and seasonal activity patterns in relation to floral nectar levels, frequencies and durations of flower visits, and fruit quantity and quality. The bees' daily foraging schedule on melon did not correlate with nectar yield and nectar production patterns by the flowers. Visit durations per flower were shorter for X. pubescens than for honeybees. Pollination by both bees resulted in similar fruit mass and seed numbers, but X. pubescens pollination increased fruit set threefold as compared to honeybee pollination. We conclude that X. pubescens can effectively pollinate melons in enclosures.
Key words: carpenter bee / greenhouse / honeybee / honeydew melon / pollination
© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2007