Study on differences in pollination efficiency among three bee species in blueberry greenhouse

Different pollinators exhibit different adaptability to plants. This study compares the performance in visiting frequency and pollination efficiency among three bee pollinators (Bombus Terrestris, Apis cerana, and Apis mellifera) on greenhouse-grown northern highbush ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry plants and evaluates their effects on yield and fruit quality.

The results indicated that the duration of daily flower-visiting of B. terrestris was 24 and 64 minutes longer than that of A. cerana and A. mellifera, respectively, and the visiting time of a single flower for B. terrestris was substantially shorter than the other two bee species, and pollen deposition on the stigma from a single visit by B. terrestris was twice and three times that of A. cerana and A. mellifera, respectively. The yield of individual plants pollinated by B. terrestris showed an increase of 11.4% and 20.0% compared with the plants pollinated by A. cerana and A. mellifera, respectively, with the rate of Grade I fruit (>18 mm diameter) reaching 50.8%, compared with 32.9% and 22.5% for A. cerana and A. mellifera groups, respectively.

Moreover, the early-to-midseason yield of plants pollinated by B. Terrestris was higher, and the ripening time was 3 to 4 days earlier. An artificial pollination experiment demonstrated that seed set of high (≈300), medium (90–110), and low (20–30) pollination amounts were 43.0%, 42.5%, and 10.5%, respectively, and the corresponding mean weights of single fruits (related to the seed number inside) were 2.8, 2.7, and 1.2 g, respectively. The highly efficient pollination of B. terrestris was attributed to its behavior of buzz-pollination. Therefore, it is preferential for pollination of ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry in the greenhouse.

Read the complete article at

Sun, Qi & Zhao·, Xingnan & Wu, Lei & Zhao, Jimin & Yang, Yunfei & Zhang, Yanwen. (2021). Differences in Pollination Efficiency Among Three Bee Species in a Greenhouse and Their Effects on Yield and Fruit Quality of Northern Highbush ‘Bluecrop’ Blueberry. HortScience. 1-5. 10.21273/HORTSCI15714-21. 

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