Honeybee races and ecotypes of different genetic background have different population development in spring. Some of them can reach the necessary population size by the beginning of Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) blooming period. There were significant differences in the spring population development between the colonies of differ...ent genetic background. The Italian races (A. m. ligustica) and their cross-breeds over-wintered poorly in Hungary, their spring population was low and they collected small amount of Robinia honey. The Austrian improved Carniolan (A. m. carnica) colonies over-wintered well, they had the largest spring population in both years. There was no significant difference between the size of the spring population of the same colonies of different genetic background in 1995 and 1996. The rate of the population development of the colonies was different in the two examined years. There was strong correlation (r = 0.8) between the spring population size and the Robinia honey yield, and between the mid-April population size and the Robinia honey yield of the colony groups of different genetic background. Spring population size also important in the effective pollination of fruit tree species that bloom earlier than the black locust trees.
Preliminary field management studies were made to increase the population density of native early spring Osmia species (O. cornuta, O. rufa) at fruit tree plantations in Hungary. Initial bee activity around artificial nesting media and the population increase during consecutive years were much smaller at large commercial fruit... orchards under intense chemical plant protection than in small mixed fruit plantation with moderate or low pesticide usage. Osmias accepted all the four kinds of tested artificial nesting media (reed, bamboo rods, hardwood blocks and light walling blocks with drilled holes). Reed provided the best nesting conditions so it is suggested to be used in the practice. Calculations showed that under favourable conditions more than 50 to 100 thousand incoming flights (arrivals or landings) occurred in a single day around a single bee shelter and this makes enormous number of possible bee visits at fruit tree flowers. For this reason it is strongly recommended to put simple bee shelters filled with artificial nesting media into fruit orchards. Experiences show that the population sizes of Osmias increase during consecutive years without any specific additional maintenance except providing shelters and nesting media.
The peach is though considered to be a self fertile fruit species, also some self sterile and male sterile varieties have been registered. The latter type seems to be frequently met in Asian varieties, whereas in the USA and Europe, J. H. Hale and Flaminia are grown. The purpose of the present study was the assessment of ferti...lity relations of peaches and nectarines grown in Hungary. The authors studied, since 1974, more than 100 different peach and nectarine varieties as for fertility relations, especially their autogamous or geitonogamous fruit set on isolated, i.e. bagged flowers at bud stage, then set free after blooming finished. Isolated flowers of some varieties were also self pollinated, artificially. According to the results the varieties have been assigned to four alternative groups. Self sterile varieties in the proper sense have not been found, but partial self sterility (less than 10% fruit set), self fertility (10 to 20% fruit set) and high self fertility (more than 20% fruit set on selfed flovters) was generally met. The majority of the varieties belonged to the last two groups, nevertheless. the rate of fruit set displayed seasonal variation, the maximum was in one case 89.9%. The purposeful self (hand)pollination of the isolated flowers increased fruit set, substantially. Varieties rated as partially self-sterile are J. H. Hale and Fuzador (the former being partially male sterile too). Although in some years and some varieties, fruit set legged below 10% but according to the means the majority of nectarines are assigned to the self fertile category whereas most peach varieties, either for fresh consumption or industrial types, were highly self fertile.
Authors investigated the expression of the primigenic dominance in the flowering and fruit from open and self pollination of four apple cultivars ('Gala Royal', 'Golden Smoothee', Pink Lady' and 'Vista Bella') during two consecutive years in Western Hungary on three different growth inducing rootstocks (M. 9, MM. 106 and seedling). There were n...ot significant differences in the effect of the rootstocks on the flowering order in a flower cluster. Significant difference in the fruit set in open pollination was found among individual flowers in a cluster, mostly between the king bloom and the second flower. The rate of the fruit set from self-pollination was very low without any significant difference among individual flowers in the cluster.
The modern nursery industry requires seed sources of a high quality and regular quantity year by year. Besides the seed sources of processed cultivars (Bartlett pear, Shipley, Elberta peach) special seed orchards are planted with selected seed trees producing high quality and genetically determined seed (hybrid seed or inbred lines). Seedlings...are still the most common commercial source of rootstocks for stone fruits (almond, apricot, peach, plum, prune and walnut). Although clonal rootstocks are spreading, usage of seedlings is still predominant at stone fruits and nuts. For successful seed production and planning of seed orchard the knowledge on floral biology, flower fertility, pollination, blossom time of trees (selected clone or cultivars) used for seed production is essential. In this field very little systematic research was carried out most of the papers were published in the second half of the 20th century. Our mini review gives an overview on the importance of flower fertility in the mating systems applied in seed orchards, and the research results on floral biology of fruit tree rootstocks propagated by seed (Prunus avium, Prunus mahaleb, Prunus armeniaca, Prunus cerasifera, Prunus insititia, Prunus amygdalus, P persica, P amygdalopersica, Pyrus pyraster, Pyrus communis and Pyrus betulifolia) over the last decades.
Regular observations and experiments were performed during a 14 year period on 6 sour cherry varieties. The morphological traits of leaves and fruits were compared, and the phenology of blooming as well as of ripening dates served to start an estimation of the possibilities of mutual pollination and the planning of harvest operations. Experimen...ts involved obligate autogamy, artificially controlled allogamy and open pollination in order to reveal self-fertility, self-sterility or inter-incompatibility relations.
The varietal characters represent, each, different values in the distinction of the items, because of their intra-varietal variability. From that point of view, the most reliable are the data of blooming and ripening time, fruit size and the fertility relations.
Inter-incompatibility was observed between the group of self-fertile, "Pándy type" varieties (`Újfehértói fürtös’, ‘Debreceni bőtermő’, ‘Kántorjánosi’) on one side and the selection of Pándy 7', a self-sterile variety on the other side. Unilateral incompatibility has been detected within the former group of new, self-fertile varieties, the combinations: (`Újfehértói fürtös’ x ‘Debreceni bőtermő’ as well as `Újfehértói fürtös’ x Kántorjánosi’.
Our results prove the close kinship between those three new varieties and the original Pándy variety on the base of being highly similar in their morphology and also of the fact of their inter-incompatibility, though unilateral.
Fruit set of five sour cherry cultivars (‘Újfehértói fürtös’, ‘Éva’, ‘Petri’, ‘Pándy 279‘ and ‘Csengôdi’) of eight years-old trees grown in Újfehértó, located in the Eastern north part of Hungary have been studied over two years (2008 & 2009). Following reciprocally cross-pollination, free-pollination, self-po...llination (autogamy) artificial self-pollination (geitonogamy) were studied. The results show that both maternal and paternal parent cultivates had significant effects on the percentage fruit set. Significant differences have been found in fruit set among years and among pollination treatments. Fruit set of free-pollinated Pándy 276 cultivar was low and seasonally highly variable. The yield of this cultivar on self-pollinated flowers was nearly 0%, and in this treatment the maximum yields did not reach 10% in any of the examined cultivars. There was no significant relationship in the fruit set of free-pollination and natural self-pollination treatments.
Authors studied the autofertility depending on natural self pollination (autogamy) in 59 pear cultivars during 4 seasons at three locations with different ecological conditions (Helvetia, Kecskemet-Kisfai, Keszthely). The aim of the experiments was to determine the autogamous tendencies of varieties hitherto unexplored in the Hungarien gene ban...k, or to check data found in the literature. A total of 42616 isolated pear flowers produced 1.2% fruits with at least one viable seed in each. The 59 varieties observed did not set fruit by autogamy on either of the three sites during the four years of the study. The triploid (3n=51) varieties were entirely self-sterile. According to the highest autogamous fruit set, during the experimental period, the varieties have been assigned to four groups: (1) Entirely auto-incompatible (0% fruit set), (2) auto-incompatible (0.1 to 0.9%), slightly self fertile (1.1 to 5%) and (4) self fertile (5.1 to 10%). According to the number of viable seeds per fruit resulting from autogamy, the varieties are assigned to three groups as (1) low seed content (less than 3 seeds per fruit), medium (3.1 to 5) and (3) high (more than 5 seeds). Thus, the assessment of the number of seeds per fruit resulting from autogamy is indispensable as a proof of the absence of parthenocarpy.
There are a number of self-incompatible and partially self-compatible apricot varieties which need cross pollination for suitable yield. We have to know their blooming time to select the appropriate pollen donor cultivars. The blooming period of 20 apricot varieties was observed in four subsequent years. Blooming time was affected by temperatur...e conditions very much. Varieties studied were assigned to three groups according to their blooming time. The rate of overlapping of important variety combinations was observed. Sufficient overlapping of blooming period for safe pollination is usually ensured within the same group of varieties or between varieties of the neighbouring blooming time groups.
Under conditions of Hungary, more than 400 varieties of apple, pear and quince varieties have been observed for time of blooming and fertility relations in order to check the possibility of their use for intense plantations in different combinations with polliniser varieties. Low (below 3%) rate of self-fertility occurred at 65% of apple variet...ies. That partial self-fertility, however, is far from being sufficient to produce acceptable yield, thus allogamous pollination is absolutely necessary. The same is true for the rear and quince varieties grown in Hungary, too. The normal development requires the presence of viable seeds in the fruit set, most in quince, therefore, association of the right varieties is most important in that species. Apple and pear varieties are assigned according to their blooming time to 4, quince varieties to 3 groups. The yield of all three pomaceous species declines with the growing distance from the potential pollen source. In the intense plantations, the critical (maximum) distance to be observed is 20 m for apple and 15 m for pear and quince. In combining the placement of varieties, also the principles of a variety-specific cultivation are to be considered carefully. The double objectives are satisfied most by the system of Maluspollinisers developed for intense plantations.
The herbaceous plants organic characterize Ellenberg et al. worked out (1991), well-use system, which is updated with herbaceous and woody plant in the Hungarian flora species, so Soó (1964-1985), Zólyomi et al. (1967), Précsényi (1986) and Simon (1988) also addressed by different aspects of this problem circuits. The author is the first ex...tended-Borhidi –Ellenberg’s system of wild fruit species (Surányi 2000, 2006) and cultivated of fruit (Surányi 2014) as well. Additional considerations there were aspects of the study of fruit varieties, these biological indicators following open pollination, frost tolerance, resistance of Sharka virus and disease susceptibility for. Firstly, we introduced a system for improving it a plum species and cultivars (Surányi 2015). In this case we used the new system among species and varieties of apricots, because diversity was able to express significantly. Especially the SB, WB, NB, and the relative biological value figures showed the variety. RB (reaction figures) fluctuated only slightly among the 463 varieties, but the dynamic difference between the 11’s was an indicator for the characterization of apricots. If the comparison performed plum and apricot variety’s level anyway justified the use of 11 kinds of organic and biological indicators.
Fruit quality of cross pollinated apples (Malus x domestica) influenced by the metaxenic pollen effect of the pollinizer was observed in Hungary. Flowers of three resistant cultivars (`Baujade', `Rewena') were hand pollinated with other resistant apple cultivars. Fruits were harvested on 25 September, 2005. Fruit quality was investigat...ed in the laboratory of the Department of Pomology; Corvinus University of Budapest. Not only size and morphological parameters (diameter, height, stem length), but also refraction and acidic content of the fruits were measured.
According to the statistical analysis significant differences were determined on fruits among the groups as an effect of the pollen provider. In consideration of size parameters (diameter, height, weight) of `Rewena' fruits pollination partner 'Freedom' and 'Prima' caused outstanding results but `Florina' caused flatter fruits. Pollen of `Florina' and `Freedor-,' caused a higher percent refraction in the fruits of `Rewena'. In the case of `Baujade' fruits `Reglindis' — among cultivars we used as pollinizer — caused the biggest fruits medium flesh firmness and harmonic inner content values. `Rajka' caused on one hand smaller fruits and on the other hand higher flesh firmness and inner content values in the case of `Relinda' fruits. According to our data measured pollinizers varied the stem length as well.
Intensity of bee visitation (honeybees and wild bees), foraging behaviour of honeybees and nectar parameters (nectar production, sugar concentration, sugar content in nectars) were inspected at 18 apple cultivars for three consecutive years. Honeybee visitation was calculated to be some 3.07 bee visits at a single apple flower a day but wild be...e activity was very low, only some 0.11 wild bee visits per flower per day.
The nectar production (nectar content) of apple flowers was fairly different according to the cultivars and the nectar production (nectar content) of flowers was negatively correlated with the sugar concentration in nectar. Interestingly, at the majority of the inspected 18 cultivars the nectar production has shown minor or no changes in the morning and at the afternoon. The nectar production (nectar content) of flowers clearly encouraged the total bee activity at the inspected cultivars (r = 0.54). Bees visited abundant nectars with greater sugar concentration most intensely than lees abundant nectars with smaller sugar concentration.
Nectar parameters, however, affected the activity of honeybees with different types of gathering behaviour in different way. More intense activity by pollen gatherer and mixed behaviour honeybees was observed at cultivars producing abundant nectar (pollen gatherers: r = 0.65, mixed behaviour: r = 0.79). The activity of pollen gatherer honeybees and of mixed behaviour bees, on the other hand, was negatively correlated to the sugar concentration in nectar (pollen gatherers: r = -0.51, mixed behaviour: r = -0.73). This can be explained by the fact that their behaviour was much more affected by the amount of pollen than by any nectar parameters. Accordingly, "mixed behaviour honeybees" should probably rather be called as "pollen gatherers with nectar load" instead of "nectar gatherers with pollen load", as widely used in literature. The activity of ineffective side worker nectar gatherers was greatly encouraged by the sugar concentration in nectar (p = 0.63), similarly to the pure (top) nectar gatherer honeybees (r = 0.72). There was a negative relationship between the nectar production (nectar content) of flowers and the activity of these behaviour classes (nectar gatherers: r = -0.47, side workers: r = -0.36).
Concluding the findings we can state that the activity of pollen gatherers and mixed behaviour honeybees is strongly encouraged by greater nectar production (greater nectar content) of apple flowers. Their activity, however, is mostly dependent firstly on the amount of pollen. This is the reason why the sugar concentration is in a negative relationship to the activity of pure pollen gatherers and mixed behaviour bee. On the other hand, pure nectar gatherers and side worker nectar gatherers are greatly encouraged by the sugar concentration of apple nectar the amount of nectar was not a definite influence on their activity.
Side worker honeybees occurred at each cultivar inspected, however, their ratio varied widely among cultivars. So we can draw the conclusion that, in contradiction with earlier believes, side worker nectar gathering is a general phenomenon at apple flowers. The activity of side workers depends first of all on the relative position of stamens and petals; however, low sugar concentration of nectars can probably moderate their activity but probably do not affect pollen gatherers and mixed behaviour bees.
Wild bee visitation was very low; the wild bee species observed (Osmia cornuta, Andrena flavipes, Anthophora acervorum, Bombus terrestris, Bombus lapidarius and Halictus simplex) comprised some 3.44 per cent of the total bee visitation at apple flowers only. Wild bee visitation was in a positive correlation with the nectar production (nectar amount) of flowers (r = 0,4) and with the sugar content of nectar (r = 0.46) but it was negatively correlated with the sugar concentration in nectar (r = -0,27).
Our result calls the attention to the importance of nectar parameters in the effective honeybee pollination of apple plantations. Most effective pollinating activity of honeybees can be expected in plantations with cultivars of high nectar production because this feature seem so encourage the activity of those behaviour classes (pure pollen gatherers and mixed behaviour bees) that are the most effective pollinating agents among honeybees.
Fruit tree species suffered very strong spring frosts in 1997 in Hungary. This caused partial or total damages at buds and flowers depending on site and time of blooming. It was demonstrated at a number of experiments that frost and cold weather also strongly affected the nectar production of surviving flowers. No or very little amount of necta...r was measured in flowers first of all of early blooming fruit tree species (apricot) but also of pear and apple in some places. In spite of this fact intensive honeybee visitation was detected in the flowers of fruit trees that suffered partial frost damage only at those sites where honeybee colonies were placed in or at the experimental plantations and the lack of sufficient amount of nectar did not affected bee behaviour seriously on fruit flowers. This means that bad nectar production failed to affect bee visitation of fruit trees definitely. The reason for this was the fact that not only fruit trees but another early bee plants (wild plants, too) suffered frost damage. Accordingly, in lack of forage bees intensively searched for food at blooming fruit trees with some living flowers. Consequently, there was an acceptable yield at those plantations where bud and flower damage was not complete. Accordingly, intensive bee visitation (that is moving additional bee colonies to overpopulate fruit orchards with honeybees) can be an effective tool to decrease or eliminate the detrimental effect of spring frost on the yield of fruit trees where bud or fruit damage is not too high.
Pollen-limited fruit set has long been suspected in some relatively low-yielding orchards with the Swedish pear cultivar 'Carola'. Fruit was therefore harvested on 23 'Carola' trees in a commercial pear orchard. The seeds were germinated and five seedlings from each tree were sampled to determine which of the surrounding cultivars had been the...most successful pollinators. Leaves of 'Carola', the 7 putative pollinating cultivars and the 115 seedlings were analysed with 6 RAPD primers. By comparison of the band patterns, paternity could be ascertained for 74 seedlings. The by far most successful pollinator was 'Clara Frijs' which had sired approx. half of the seedlings, followed by 'Herzogin Elsa', `Skanskt Sockerpiiron', 'Alexandre Lucas', 'Coloree de Juillet' and 'Doyenne du Cornice'. The latter is the maternal parent of 'Carola', and these two cultivars must therefore share one S-allele and hence can only be semi-compatible. In addition, 6% of the seedlings were in all likelihood derived from selling_ since they showed no bands that did not occur also in 'Carola'. Maximum distance between 'Carola' trees and suitable pollinators should not exceed 15-20 tn. Longer distances may produce a serious dearth of compatible pollen as evidenced by the large percentage of seedlings derived either from selling. (25%) or from long-distance (> 40 m) pollen transfer (25%) when 'Carola' trees were surrounded by non-preferred pollinators.
Nectar production of six quince cultivars were measured during three consecutive years. The nectar production of quince can be regarded to be small compared to other temperate zone fruit tree species since quince flowers contained 1.07 ± 0.06 mg of nectar in average. The extreme values, however, ranged between 0.1 and 7.3 mg/flower and this in...dicated that the nectar production was highly variable. The distribution of the nectar production was definitely skew because low values were definitely much more frequent than the highest ones. Our findings do not corroborate the earlier statements on the high sugar concentration of quince nectar. We found some 21-27% sugar in average, only. The normal distribution of the sugar concentration also indicates that the typical sugar concentration may be between 20-30%. Accordingly, the sugar concentration of quince nectar is rather low compared to other temperate zone fruit tree species (except pear). There was a significant negative correlation between the amount of nectar and its sugar concentration in quince flowers in all of the three years of the study (r= -0.51, n=37, p<0.02 in 1996, r= -0.57, n=28, p<0.1 in 1997, r= -0.35, n=9 I, p<0.001 in 1998). No definite difference was established between the nectar production of quince cultivars. Nevertheless, one cultivar tended to produce less and two other ones produced somewhat more nectar in average than the rest of the 6 cvs investigated but the extreme values of nectar production of cultivars overlapped in most cages.
The aim of this study was to determine some important growing characteristics of 5 resistant apple (Rajka, Rubinola, Topaz, Otawa and Goldstar) and 7 apricot (NJA 19, Goldrich, Harcot, Venus, Comando, Olimp, Cea mai buna de Ungaria) cultivars in two fruit growing regions in Romania from 2000 to 2003. Height of the apple trees (4-year-old tree)...ranged between 1.96 m (cv. Topaz) and 2.39 m (cv. Rubinola). Diameter of the crown ranged from 0.96 m (cv. Goldstar) to 1.12 cm (cv. Rajka). The trunk diameter ranged from 3.5 cm (cv. Goldstar) to 5.0 cm (cv. Rajka). The surface of the trunk section was the lowest for cv. Goldstar (9.7 cm') and the largest for cv. Rajka (19.6 cm). Height of the apricot trees (4 years old tree) ranged between 2.69 m (cv. Venus) and 3.38 m (cv. NJA - 19). Diameter of the crown ranged from 2.59 m (cv. Comandor) to 2.77 m (cv. Cea mai buna de Ungaria). The trunk diameter ranged from 9.54 cm (cv. Goldrich) to 13.30 cm (cv. NJA - 19). Length of annual branches was the lowest for cv. Goldrich (45.1 cm) and the highest for cv. NJA - 19 (83.8 cm). Bud swelling of apricot trees began on 8 March for cv. NJA - 19 and ended on 11 March for the control cultivar (Cea mai buna de Ungaria). The blooming started on 16 March for cv. NJA - 19 and 27 Mach for the control cultivar. Duration of fruit growth was 89 days for cv. NJA - 19 and 128 days for cv. Comandor. When the temperature decreased to 1.5 °C (in 2001), percentage of viable pollen grains ranged between 48.86 % (cv. Olimp) and 91.57 % (cv. Venus). The germinating grains ranged from 31 % (cv. Olimp) to 90 % (cv. Harcot). Free pollination was the lowest for cv. NJA - 19 (29 %) and the highest for cv. Harcot (41%), while self-pollination ranged between 6 (cv. Olimp) and 11 % (cvs. Comondor and Harcot). Apple yield ranged from 16.65 t/ha (cv. Otawa) to 24.35 t/ha (cv. Rajka) and the differences varied from 4.45 t/ha to - 3.25 t/ha compared to the control varieties. Apricot yield ranged from 11.47 kg/ tree or 9.53 t/ha (cv. Cea mai buna de Ungaria), to 38.83 kg/tree or 27.34 t/ha (cv. Olimp) and the differences varied from 3 t/ha to 17 t/ha compared to the control varieties. Apple fruit weight ranged from 162 g (cv. Otawa) to 222 g (cv. Goldstar) and apricot fruit weight from 42.52 g (cv. Goldrich) to 68.38 g (cv. Comandor). Color, taste and aroma were very specific to cultivars.
During a four yeas long experiment a simple bee shelterswas found to be a propermethod to increase the size ofmixed natural populations of the early season Osmia cornuta and O. rufa under practical farm conditions. Instead of the number of pesticide applications the earliness of the flowering of the fruit species in the orchards was found to be... themost important factor in the rate of acceptance of reed as nestingmediumby Osmias in the bee shelter. This relationship was negative and highly significant (r = –0.829, p<0.001). This means that much higher acceptance of artificial nestingmedia in bee shelters and consequentlymuch higher population increase of the two early seasonmason bee species can be expected in orchards with early than with late flowering fruit species. Mixed orchards or early flowering orchards surrounded by other orchards falling in bloom later consecutively may also be much favourable to mason bees because they can find continuous food (pollen) supply there for a much longer time during their period of activity than in orchards planted with a single fruit species and being apart from orchards of other fruit species.
The model of a pollen mixing device was tested in sunflower culture in order to detect the effectiveness in helping the out-going honey bees to carry more and different varieties of pollen grains on the body and body hairs. This model is build from line hairs of brushes facing each other that can keep and release pollen grains. The brushes are...functioning as pollen receiver-transmitter units. The effectiveness was tested by examining the number and the species of the pollen grains adhered to the bees passing through the entrance. The amount of pollen and the number of pollen species on the hive with the device was significantly higher than on the control hive.
The data were analysed by variance analysis and significant differences were found according to the number and species of pollen grains between the incoming and outgoing bees.
The most important components of fruit drop are: the rootstock, the combination of polliniser varieties, the conditions depending of nutrition, the extent and timing of the administration of fertilisers, the moments of water stress and the timing of agrotechnical interventions. Further adversities may appear as flushes of heat and drought, the...rainy spring weather during the blooming period as well as the excessive hot, cool or windy weather impairing pollination, moreover, the appearance of diseases and pests all influence the fate of flowers of growing and become ripe fruits. As generally maintained, dry springs are causing severe fruit drop.
In analysing the endogenous and environmental causes of drop of the generative organs (flowers and fruits), the model of leaf abscission has been used, as a study of the excised, well defined abscission zone (AZ) seemed to be an adequate approach to the question. Comparing the effects active in the abscission of fruit with those of the excised leaf stem differences are observed as well as analogies between the anatomy and the accumulation of ethylene in the respective abscission tissues.
A great number of crosses have been made with Hungarian and foreign varieties as partners to breed improved varieties. This species shows a particular trait, namely the autoregulation of fruit set, which affects considerably the productivity of commercial orchards. Thus the inheritance of the blooming time of the male and female flowers has bee...n explored for several years in the progenies.
It has been stated that
- the feature of the partners does not turn up predictably in the progeny,
- it is most important to take into consideration the blooming time class of both, male and female flowers in planning associations of varieties for commercial orchards.
- in years of irregular spring weather the stability of the blooming time of the variety or in other words the deviation of the actual blooming time of variety from its characteristic blooming-time class is also very important.
Studies were made on the composition of pollen loads of honeybees captured at the flowers of blooming pear trees in pear plantations. Also the foraging behaviour of honeybees was observed. Overwhelming majority of honeybees visiting the flowers of 13 pear cultivars in 1996 were pollen gatherers (95.6 per cent). Proportion of pure nectar gathere...rs was as low as some 3.7 per cent and no more than 0.7 per cent performed mixed behaviour. The analysis of pollen loads of bees collected at pear flowers in blooming pear plantations showed that fidelity was as high as 89-90 per cent towards pear, higher than for another fruit species in other studies. Even those plant species that are regarded to be strong competitors of blooming fruit trees in the literature (Taraxacum officinale, Stellaria media, Lamium purpureum) were scarcely represented in the loads. Accordingly, honeybees can be much more important and more effective pollinating agents of pear cultivars than generally believed.