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The effect of the limitation of insect pollination period on the fruit set and yield of temperate-zone fruit tree species
Published February 23, 2000

The duration of effective bee pollination period was limited by caging flowering branches for shorter or longer time in blooming fruit trees in a number of experiments during the past decades. In the case of self-sterile fruit species and cultivars (apples, pears, quinces, some plums, some sour cherries) even partial limitation of the effective... duration of bee pollination period significantly reduced the fruit set and the yield. In the case of self-fertile apricots the effect of the total and also the influence of partial limitation of bee pollination period was the same as in the case of the mentioned self-sterile fruits. On the other hand, in the case of another self-fertile fruits (some plums, some sour cherries), the effect of partial limitation of bee pollination period was usually small, but complete (or incomplete but strong) limitation of be pollination usually resulted in a strong reduction of yield. This means that not only self-sterile but also self-fertile fruits clearly depend on insect (bee) pollination. This is because pollen dehiscence of anthers and the receptive period of stigmas do not overlap in time within the individual flowers. Stigmas in self-fertile trees, therefore, need pollen carried by bees from another flowers of the same tree (or compatible pollen from another trees). Accordingly, additional bee pollination (moving bee colonies to the orchards in flower) is needed to all kinds of temperate-zone fruit tree species when bee visitation of plantations is not abundant enough for some reasons.

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The effect of spring frosts on the nectar production and the bee visitation of fruit trees
Published February 23, 2000

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.


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