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pollination services 

    Apples

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.

Several studies have shown increased fruit set and resultant production when using managed honey bee colonies for pollination services.  Langridge and Jenkins (1970) showed that by excluding bees from apple trees significant reductions in fruit set, yield/tree and seed No/fruit could be demonstrated.  In one orchard trial, three colonies of bees per ha (giving 33 foraging honey bees per 1,000 flowers) resulted in a 32% set and 57kg of fruit per tree (Langridge and Jenkins 1970).  Another apple orchard of the same age had only one colony per ha (giving 11 foraging honey bees per 1,000 flowers) resulting in a 15% set and 30kg of fruit per tree.  There is also some evidence to suggest that sufficient foraging by honey bees on apple varieties such as ‘Pink Lady' and ‘Sundowner' can reduce the number of picks for the crop as a result of improved pollination.

Whilst this evidence demonstrates that adequate pollination will help ensure adequate seed formation and reduce the incidence of deformed apples, which in turn results in better outcomes for the grower, it has been suggested that management to ensure good pollination often may not be given sufficient attention, especially during the busy spring season (Somerville 1999; Vicens and Bosch 2000).

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