Honey bee as an effective pollinating agent of pumpkin

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The production of fruits and seeds of many crops is increased when bees visit their flowers pollinating them. The aim of this research was to study the pollination of pumpkins (Cucurbita maxima Duch. var. Exposição), to determine the diversity of insects visiting its flowers, the time and type of provision obtained and the effect of the visits on fruit set, fruit size and weight, and number of seeds. Apis mellifera L. accounted for 73.4% of the visits made by bees, collecting pollen during 34.5 s per flower and nectar in 43.9 s and 29.3 s from female and male flowers, respectively. Trigona spinipes (Fabr.) collected only nectar, during a mean time of 60.5 s per flower, and represented 26.6% of the visits by bees. Diabrotica speciosa (Germ.) only fed on the petals of the flower. When no insect visits occurred, there was no production of fruits. In the flowers with free visitation by insects, fruit set was 40%. The higher the number of visits, up to 16, by A. mellifera to female flowers, the greater was the fruit set, fruit size and weight, and number of seeds. In flowers visited by insects from the onset of anthesis until 9 a.m., fruit set was 35%. After 9 a.m., there was no fruit set, demonstrating the important role of A. mellifera as a pollinating agent of pumpkin, since it was the only insect visiting up to 9 a.m.

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Nicodemo, D., Couto, R. H. N., Malheiros, E. B., & de Jong, D. (2009). Honey bee as an effective pollinating agent of pumpkin. Scientia Agricola, 66(4), 476–480. https://doi.org/10.1590/s0103-90162009000400007

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