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

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Abstract

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.

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