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Honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) visitation at the flowers of quince cultivars (Cydonia oblonga Mill.)
Published June 6, 2000
95-102.

Studies were made on the bee visitation of 6 quince cultivars and on the foraging behaviour of honeybees at quince flowers for 3 consecutive years. The bee visitation was highly intense because both the plantation and its surrounding was overpopulated by honeybee colonies. Some 5.5 bee visits were counted in average at 50 opening quince flowers... in 10 minutes and some 9.7 flowers were visited of the 50 ones observed meanwhile. This equals some 7 bee visits per flower per day per in good weather. Bee visitation, however, was variable and it was greatly different in the three consecutive years with fairly favourable weather. Some cultivars tended to be more and others less visited by honeybees than the others but these differences were not consequent at each occasion. No consequent relationship between the weather and the bee visitation of quince trees could be recognised. It was concluded that .other factors were responsible for the variable nature of the bee activity at quince. Most honeybees tended to collect pollen (51.6% in average for the 3 years) and usually much less gathered for nectar only (19.9%), and the rest of them were mixed behaviour foragers gathering for both (28.5%). There were some slight differences in the foraging behaviour of honeybees at some cultivars but these differences were not always consequent in consecutive years. Also the nectar production of flowers failed to affect the bee visitation and the foraging behaviour of honeybees definitely. For the variable nature of bee visitation and bee behaviour at quince flowers, supplementary pollination is needed to achieve as high set of fruits as high is required to a good crop at quince (at least 20-25% because the flower density is low of this fruit tree species). Since the intensity of bee visitation at the flowers is the only reliable estimate of the necessity of supplementary bee pollination further research is needed to explore the relationship between the number of honeybee visits and the consequent fruit set at quince.

 

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The effect of nectar production to the gathering behaviour of honeybees and to the foraging activity of wild bees at apple flowers
Published April 19, 2006
45-57.

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.

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The effects of spinosad insecticide to adults of Apis mellifera, Megachile rotundata and Nomia melanderi (Hymenoptera: Apidae)
Published March 21, 2001
93-97.

The toxicity of spinosad to adult female bees tended to be least to the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) (LD50 = 0.078 pg/bee), intermediate to the alkali bee (Nomia melanderi) (0.065 pg/bee), and greatest to the alfalfa leafcutter bee (Megachile rotundata (F.)) (0.058 pg/bee), both in topical drop te...sts and in tests involving spinosad residues on alfalfa (Medicago sativa) foliage. For the calculated LD50 pg/g, the honey bee (LD50 = 0.612 pg/g) was the most susceptible followed by the alkali bee (0.773 pg/g) and the leafcutter bee (1.908 pg/g). The honey bee oral LD50 was 0.063 pg/bee and the calculated LD50 0.492 pg/g. Adding an adjuvant to spinosad sprays did not change the toxicity of spinosad to bees in residue bioassay studies. Spinosad at as high as 500 ppm in feeders containing a sucrose/honey syrup caused no significant reduction in honey bee visitation or total syrup consumed.

 

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Effect of intensity of bee visitation and the foraging behaviour of honeybees on the fruit set and yield of apple (Malus domestica Borkh.)
Published March 14, 2005
31-39.

Based on the results of our experiments, both the relative and the effective intensity of bee visitation were rather different depending on the cultivars as well as the time of the day. While it varied between relatively extreme values (40-80%) in the morning for the varieties examined, there were much smaller differences between the intensity ...of bee visitation at the afternoon, because the relative bee visitation attained 70-90% at each cultivar. These results showed that the differences arising from intensity of bee visitation of different cultivars should be taken into consideration more carefully in the morning in orchard planning and in estimating the number of honeybee colonies required.

The results showed that the greatest percentage of fruit set and the highest number of viable seeds per fruit were measured on branches of those cultivars that were most frequently visited by pure pollen gatherer bees as well as by bees collecting both nectar and pollen (mixed behaviour). The effect of pure pollen gatherers and of bees with mixed behaviour was highly significant from the statistical point of view on the fruit set and the number of viable seeds per fruit.

Those bees that were sucking nectar only from apple flowers did not proved to be effective pollinators at all. Relationship between their number and the fruit set as well as the number of viable seed per fruit were not significant because the coefficient of correlation was close to nil.

The ratio of side worker nectar gatherers was negatively correlated with the fruit set and the seed content of fruits of apple cultivars examined at both of our experimental sites, at Mosonmagyaróvár and Feketeerdő as well. The presence of side worker nectar gatherers resulted in higher decrease of fruit set and seed content of fruits at Feketeerd6 than at Mosonmagyaróvár, especially in the morning.

The effect of flower visiting intensity by other pollinating insects was found to be fairly variable according to the time of the day. In the morning they had no effect on the fruit set as well as on the seed content of fruits either at Mosonmagyaróvár or at Feketeerdo. However, at the afternoon, when their intensity was greater, the correlation was a bit stronger.

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The effect of spring frosts on the nectar production and the bee visitation of fruit trees
Published February 23, 2000
86-89.

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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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
90-95.

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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Some flower characters, variety features and environmental effects affecting bee pollination of pear (Pyrus communis L.): a review of the results of latest research
Published June 6, 2000
59-66.

Intensive research has been implemented on different aspects of the bee pollination of pear in Hungary in the past decade, extending to the following topics: the effect of the opening sequence of the flowers within the inflorescence of pear cultivars on the effectiveness of bee pollination; the nectar production of flowers of pear cultivars; in...tensity of honeybee visitation and their foraging behaviour at the flowers of pear cultivars; flower constancy of honeybees to pear plantations; competition by weeds in bloom for bee pollination in flowering pear orchards; and some aspects to the bee pollination strategies of pear plantations (the effect of the limitation of bee pollination period on the set and the yield, possible compensation of frost damage of flowers by bee pollination in pear orchards, the optimal size of single cultivar block in pear plantations). The results of these studies are reviewed in this paper and some important aspects that need further studies are outlined.

 

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Changes in Some Quality Criteria During Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Storage of Peaches
Published March 21, 2001
58-61.

Intensive research has been implemented on different aspects of the bee pollination of pear in Hungary in the past decade, extending to the following topics: the effect of the opening sequence of the flowers within the inflorescence of pear cultivars on the effectiveness of bee pollination; the nectar production of flowers of pear cultivars; in...tensity of honeybee visitation and their foraging behaviour at the flowers of pear cultivars; flower constancy of honeybees to pear plantations; competition by weeds in bloom for bee pollination in flowering pear orchards; and some aspects to the bee pollination strategies of pear plantations (the effect of the limitation of bee pollination period on the set and the yield, possible compensation of frost damage of flowers by bee pollination in pear orchards, the optimal size of single cultivar block in pear plantations). The results of these studies are reviewed in this paper and some important aspects that need further studies are outlined.

 

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The effect of the limitation of insect pollination period on the fruit set and yield of quince cultivars (Cydonia oblonga Mill.)
Published June 6, 2000
103-108.

The effect of the partial and/or complete limitation of the insect (bee) pollination period was studied in three consecutive years at 6 quince cultivars. Quince is greatly sensitive to the limitation. Complete limitation of insect pollination resulted in no yield and also a partial limitation of the insect pollination period (exclusion of the b...ees at the first or at the second half of the blooming) depressed the final set and the yield by 60-70% at least or more, sometimes down to no yield. No real correlation was found between the mean mass of fruits and the fruit set. The mass of fruit seems to be rather a character of the cultivars. A loose but significant correlation was established between the intensity of honeybee visitation and the consequent yield of quince. As much as some 4-5 and 8-10 honeybee visits are needed a day on one flower to achieve the required optimal fruit set that has been declared to be 20-25% for quince in the literature. These are extremely high bee visitation figures, accordingly, no doubt the commercial quince plantations require much higher number of honeybee colonies than other temperate zone fruit tree species to supplementary pollination

 

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Comparison of honeybee behaviour in blooming fruit plantations
Published July 26, 2012
147-151.

Field observations were made on the fl ower visiting behaviour of honeybee foragers in commercial fruit plantations of apricot, Japanese plums, sour cherry, apple and pear. The number of inspected cultivars was 18. The intensity of fl ower visiting by honey bees was markedly different when data of different fruit species are compared. Most inte...nse bee activity was registered on the Japanese plums, somewhat less on apricots, the intensity diminished signifi cantly with apples and pears. Our data presented on the honeybee visitation of Japanese plums can be regarded as new fi nding because no information has been available so far on the relative attractiveness of this fruit species compared to European fruit tree species. Japanese plums were somewhat more attractive to honeybees than apricot and much more attractive than sour cherry, apple and pear. The behaviour of honeybees as visiting the blooming trees displayed specifi c differences according to the fruit species (apricot, sour cherry, pear), which coincide largely with earlier results. It is notable that the fl ower visiting behaviour of honeybees on Japanese plums has been found to be fairly similar to the same on European plums.

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Differences of pollen and pollenkitt attractiveness of some cultivated and ornamental apples for honeybees
Published June 6, 2000
145-150.

Differences in the attractiveness of pollen according to plant families and species for the honeybees had been examined by researchers, but pollen samples of cultivars were not tested yet. This examination attempts to evalu2te the differences in attractiveness of pollen of some cultivated and ornamental apples to honeybees. We applied biotest w...ith equal amounts of hand collected pollen samples and by a nucleus of bees with brood. The evaluation was based on the number of visitation by foraging honeybees on the samples during the time of the experiment which was determined. Pollenkitt samples were also tested in a separate experiment.

The data were analysed by variance analysis and significant differences were found according to the number of bee visitation in the attractiveness of the pollen and pollenkitt samples of apple cultivars.

The visualisation of pollenkitt was done by light microscope and SEM.

 

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Sugar composition of floral nectar in sour cherry cultivars
Published June 6, 2000
109-113.

The composition of floral nectar in sour cherry cultivars studied in 1997 at Újfehértó was in agreement with our previous data, the three most frequent sugar components being glucose, fructose and sucrose. Nectar secreted at night is generally more diluted than nectar produced during the day. None of the nectar samples produced at night reac...hed the threshold value (100 mg/ml) of bee visitation. In the majority of cultivars the difference in concentration between night and day nectar is not too high, but in two cultivars, 'Korai pipacs' and ‘Újfehértói fürtös’ the difference is quite significant. Most sucrose was found in the nectar of cvs. 'Érdi jubileum' and ‘Újfehértói fürtös’, but a high amount of sucrose was measured also in the flowers of 'Korai pipacs' and 'Meteor USA'. Nectar concentration varies from opening of the flower to petal fall to a smaller or greater degree, depending on the given cultivar. From the 9 sour cherry cultivars studied ‘Újfehértói fürtös’ and Tandy 48' had the most attractive nectar for bees. There was no correlation between nectar composition and free fertilisation. On the basis of nectar composition the majority of the sour cherry cultivars studied can be classified into the sucrose-rich category; only one cultivar, 'Érdi jubileum' had a sucrose-dominant secretory product. The composition of nectar in the studied sour cherry cultivars is preferred by bees.

 

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