Effect of Honey Bee (Apis mellifera L.) Density on Pollination and Fruit Set of Avocado (Persea americana Mill.) Cv. Hass.

Open access


The objective of this research was to determine the effect of honeybee density on pollination and fruit set of the Hass avocado. The research was carried out in the municipality of Popayán, Colombia. Three avocado orchards were selected, each one with an area of one hectare and trees with an age of six years. The treatments were: 1) four hives/ha, 2) six hives/ha, and 3) control without hives. Treatments of six and four hives/ha presented significant differences with respect to the control, with a honeybee density per tree of 7.72, 6.04 and 2.72, pollination rate of 60, 55 and 50%, pollination efficiency of 7.57, 6.04 and 5.98 grains of pollen per stigma, 6.11, 4.13 and 3.54% fruit set initial, 0.058, 0.048 and 0.028% fruit set final, 231, 212 and 137 of fruits per tree, 46.2, 38.2 and 21.6 kg fruit per tree, respectively. The results obtained show an increase of honey-bee density per tree, pollination rate, pollination efficiency, % fruit set, % fruit set final, number of fruits per tree and total fruit weight per tree when six and four bee hives/ha are introduced in the avocado crop.

Afik, O., Dag, A., Kerem, Z., & Shafir, S. (2006). Analyses of avocado (Persea americana) nectar properties and their perception by honey bees (Apis mellifera). Journal of Chemical Ecology, 32(9), 1949-1963. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-006-9120-1

Afik, O., Delaplane, K.S., Shafir, S., Moo-Valle, H., Quezada-Euán, J.J.G. (2014). Nectar Minerals as regulators of flower visitation in stingless bees and nectar hoarding wasps. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 40(5), 476-483. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-014-0455-8

Aizen, M.A., & Harder, L.D. (2009). The Global Stock of Domesticated Honey Bees Is Growing Slower Than Agricultural Demand for Pollination. Current Biology, 19(11), 915-918. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2009.03.071

Arpaia, M.L., & Hofshi, R. (2004). The avocado flower and the pollination process: Ideas from a California perspective. In Proceedings of 2nd Seminario Internacional de Paltos. (p.22) Quillota-Chile.

Avilán, L., & Rodríguez, M. (1995). Época de floración y cosecha del aguacate en la región norte de Venezuela. Agronomía Tropical, 45, 35-50.

Biesmeijer, J., Roberts, S., Reemer, M., Ohlemüller, R., Edwards, M., Peeters, T., Kunin, W. (2006). Parallel Declines in Pollinators and Insect-Pollinated Plants in Britain and the Netherlands. Science, 5785(313), 351-354. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1129551

Bergh, B.O. (1977). Factors affecting avocado fruitfulness. In Saults, J. Philips, R y Jackson, L. (eds.) Proceedings of the First International Tropical Fruit Short Course: The Avocado. University of Florida; Gainesville, FL, USA; 83-87.

Brown, M.J., Dicks, L.V., Paxton, R.J., Baldock, K.C., Barron, A.B., Chauzat, M.P., Stout, J.C. (2016). A horizon scans of future threats and opportunities for pollinators and pollination. PeerJ 4, e2249. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2249

Can-Alonzo, C., Quezada-Euán, J., Xiu-Ancona, H., Moo-Valle, H., Valdovinos-Nunez, H., Medina-Peralta, S. (2005). Pollination of “criollo” avocados (Persea americana) and the behavior of associated bees in subtropical Mexico. Journal of Apicultural Research, 44(1), 3-8.

Carabalí, A., Pinchao, S., Lamprea, I., Peña, J.F., Carabalí, D. (2017). Insectos polinizadores del aguacate (Persea americana Mill.) cv. Hass en Colombia. Bogotá: Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria.

Carvalheiro, L.G., Kunin, W.E., Keil, P., Aguirre, J., Ellis, W.N., Fox, R., Biesmeijer, J.C. (2013). Species richness declines and biotic homogenisation have slowed down for NW-European pollinators and plants. Ecology Letters, 16(7), 870-878. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12121

Cautin, M. (1996). Nuevos antecedentes sobre requerimientos de polinización y variedades. Publicaciones Misceláneas Agrícolas, 45, 15-29.

Castañeda, A., Equihua, A., Valdés, J., Barrientos, A., Ish-Am, G., Gazit, S. (1999). Insectos polinizadores del Aguacate en los estados de Mexico y Michoacan. Revista Chapingo Serie Horticultura, 5, 129-136. Retrieved from http://bio-nica.info/Biblioteca/Ish-Ampolinizadores Aguacate.pdf

Cepeda, J., Gómez, D., & Nicholls, C. (2014). La estructura importa: abejas visitantes del café y estructura agroecológica principal (EAP) en cafetales. Revista Colombiana de Entomología, 40(2), 241-250.

Cossio-Vargas, L.E., Salazar-Garcia, S., Gonzalez-Duran, I.J., & Medina-Torres, R. (2007). Algunos aspectos reproductivos del aguacate ‘Hass’ en clima semicálido. In Proceedings VI World Avocado Congress (Actas VI Congreso Mundial del Aguacate). (p.11) Viña Del Mar-Chile.

Davenport, T.L. (1986). Avocado flowering. Horticultural Reviews, 8, 257-289.

Dewenter, S., Potts, S., & Packer, L. (2005). Pollinator diversity and crop pollination services are at risk. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 20, 651-652.

Evans, L.J., Goodwin, R.M., & Mcbrydie, H.M. (2010). Factors affecting “Hass” avocado (Persea americana) fruit set in New Zealand. Insect Biology, 63, 214-218.

Free, J. (1970). Insect pollination of crops. London: Academic Press.

Free, J., & Spencer, Y. (1963). The foraging areas of honey bee colonies in fruit orchards. Journal of Horticultural Science, 38, 129-137.

Freitas, B.M., & Paxton, R.J. (1998). A comparison of two pollinators: the introduced honey bee Apis mellifera and an indigenous bee Centris tarsata on cashew Anacardium occidentale in its native range of NE Brazil. Journal of Applied Ecology, 35, 109-121.

Gallai, N., Salles, J. M., Settele, J., & Vaissiere, B. E. (2009). Economic valuation of the vulnerability of world agriculture confronted with pollinator decline. Ecological Economics, 68 (3), 810-821.

Garner, L.C., & Lovatt, C.J. (2008). The Relationship between Flower and Fruit Abscission and Alternate Bearing of ‘Hass’ Avocado. Journal American Society Horticultural Science, 1, 3-10.

Gazit, S., & Degani, C. (2002). Reproductive Biology, In The avocado: botany, production and uses (pp. 101-127). Oxon: CABI Publishing.

Geslin, B., Oddie, M., Folschweiller, M., Legras, G., Seymourf, C., Vanveen, C., Thébault, E. (2016). Spatio-temporal changes in flying insect abundance and their functional diversity as a function of distance to natural habitats in a mass flowering crop. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 229, 21-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.05.010 0167-8809/ã 2016

Goodwin, M. (2012). Pollination of Crops in Australia and New Zealand. Australia: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Ish-Am, G., & Eisikowitch, D. (1991a). Possible routes of avocado tree pollination by honey bees. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 77(4), 225-233. https://doi.org/10.2307/2399673

Ish-Am, G., & Eisikowitch, D. (1991b). New insight into avocado flowering in relation to its pollination. California Avocado Society Yearbook, 75, 125-137.

Ish-Am, G., & Eisikowitch, D. (1993). The behaviour of honey bees (Apis mellifera) visiting avocado (Persea americana) flowers and their contribution to its pollination. Journal of Apicultural Research, 32, 175-186. https://doi.org/10.1080/00218839.1993.11101303

Ish-Am, G., & Eisikowitch, D. (1995). Quantitative approach to avocado pollination. In Proceedings of The World Avocado Congress III. (pag. 46-51) Israel.

Ish-Am, G., & Eisikowitch, D. (1998). Low attractiveness of avocado (Persea americana Mill.) flowers to honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) limits fruit set in Israel. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 73(2), 195-204.

Ish-Am, G., Barrientos-Priego, F., Castaneda-Vildozola, A., & Gazit, S. (1999). Avocado (Persea americana Mill.) pollinators in its region of origin. Revista Chapingo Serie Horticultura, 5, 137-143.

Ish-Am, G., & Lahav, E. (2011). Evidence for a major role of honey bees (Apis mellifera) rather than wind during avocado (Persea americana Mill.) pollination. Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology, 86, 589-594. https://doi.org/10.1080/14620316.2011.11512808

Ish-Am, G. (2004). Principios de la polinización del palto – Una breve revisión. In Proceedings segundo seminario internacional de paltos. (pag. 11) Quillota-Chile.

Klein, A.M., Vaissière, B.E., Cane, J.H., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Cunningham, S.A., Kremen, C., Tscharntke, T. (2007) Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 274, 303-313.

Lahav, E., & Zamet, D. (1999). Flowers, fruitlets and fruit drop in avocado trees. Revista Chapingo Serie Horticultura, 5, 95-100.

Malerbo-Souza, D.T., Vagner, T., Rodrigues, S., & Sousa, F. (2000). Pollination in avocado flowers (Persea americana Mill.). Acta Scientiarum - Agronomy, 22(4), 937-941.

Mayer, D., Johansen, C., & Burgett, D. (1986). Bee pollination of tree fruits. USA:Pacific Northwest Extension Publication.

Michener, C. (2000). The bees of the world. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Ne’eman, G., Jürgens, A., Newstrom-Lloyd, L., Potts S.G., Dafni, A. (2010). A framework for comparing pollinator performance: effectiveness and efficiency. Biological Reviews, 85, 435-451.

Nieto, A. (1984). Observación preliminar de la polinización entomófila en aguacate Persea americana Mill. Revista Chapingo, 9, 54-55.

Parra, G. (2005). Abejas silvestres y polinización. Manejo Integrado de plagas y agroecología (Costa Rica), 75, 7-20.

Peña, J.E. (2003). Insectos polinizadores de frutales tropicales: no solo las abejas llevan la miel al panal. Manejo Integrado de Plagas y Agroecología (Costa Rica), 69, 6-20.

Pérez-Balam, J., Quezada-Euan, J., Alfaro-Bates, R., Medina, S., Mckendrick, L., Soro, A., Paxton, R. (2012). The contribution of honey bees, flies and wasps to avocado (Persea americana) pollination in southern Mexico. Journal of Pollination Ecology, 8(6), 42-47.

Potts, S.G., Vulliamy, B., Roberts, S., Toole, C., Dafni, A., Neaposeman, G., Willmer, P. (2005). Role of nesting resources in organizing diverse bee communities in a Mediterranean landscape. Ecological Entomology, 30(1), 78-85. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0307-6946.2005.00662.x

Romero, M. (2012). Comportamiento fisiológico del aguacate (Persea americana Mill.) Variedad Lorena en la zona de Mariquita, Tolima (Tesis de maestría). Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogotá. Colombia.

Salazar, S., & Lovatt, C. (1998). GA3 application alters flowering phenology of the ‘Hass’ avocado. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 123, 791-797.

Sedgley, M. (1987). Foraging Strategy of Honey bee Colonies in a Temperate Deciduous Forest. Ecology, 63(6), 1790-1801. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1940121

Sedgley, M. (1979). Light-microscope study of pollen-tube growth, fertilization and early embryo and endosperm development in the avocado varieties Fuerte and Hass. Annals of Botany, 44, 353-359.

Shoval, S. (1987). Pollination rate and pollen tube growth of avocado, in relation to yield (Master’s Thesis). The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rehovot. Israel.

Vásquez, R., Ballesteros, H., Tello, J., Castañeda, S., Calvo, N., Ortega, N., Riveros, L. (2011). Polinización dirigida con abejas Apis mellifera: Tecnología para el mejoramiento de la producción de cultivos con potencial exportador. Bogotá: Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria.

Vithanage, V. (1990). The role of the European honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) in avocado pollination. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 65(1), 81-86.

Zych, M., & Jakubiec, A. (2006). How much is a bee worth? Economic aspects of pollination of selected crops in Poland. Acta Agrobotanica, 59(1), 289-299.

Journal of Apicultural Science

The Journal of Research Institute of Horticulture and Apicultural Research Association

Journal Information

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.75
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.007

CiteScore 2017: 0.92

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.345
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.461


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 471 471 72
PDF Downloads 376 376 76