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pollination services 

    Almond

Below is an extract from a pollination research paper prepared by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).  To download the document, simply click on the image on the left of this screen.

A profitable almond crop depends upon the cross-pollination of practically all flowers.  In general almond growers aim for the heaviest possible set of almonds, as unlike some other species (e.g. apples, peaches) there are no problems with fruit thinning and nuts with small kernels are in greatest demand (McGregor 1976).  The bee populations should therefore be sufficiently dense that repeated visits to every flower occur and the bees must ‘shop around'; that is, they should not only visit many flowers on the one tree but also must visit between cultivars to obtain their loads of nectar and pollen (McGregor 1976; Degrandi-Hoffman et al. 1992).  During flowering, fair weather with daytime temperatures above 12oC  is essential to permit flight of pollinating insects with flight of honey bees maximised above 19oC (Somerville 2007; McGregor 1976).

Honey bees have been found to be the most efficient pollinators of almond blossom by many authors (Degrandi-Hoffman et al. 1992; Somerville 2007).  Several studies have shown increased fruit set and resultant increased production when using managed honey bee colonies for pollination services.  With very few exceptions, cross-pollination is essential for fruit set in almonds and honey bees have been recognised as the most efficient pollinators time and time again.

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