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pollination services

    Avocado

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.

Vithanage (1990) found that a density of two hives per ha was sufficient to improve the yield but three hives per ha significantly increased the mean fruit weight of experimental trees. McGregor (1976) concluded that a density of 2-10 strong bee hives per hectare, depending on the amount of competing bloom, placed in the orchard during flowering can significantly improve fruit set. Furthermore it has been shown that honey bees are more abundant within 100m of a 64-hive apiary site, and more avocados were harvested within 60m compared to 300m (McGregor 1976). Thus placement of hives is an important step in pollination management for optimal production of avocados (Vithanage 1990; McGregor 1976)

Hive placement within the orchard is a very important factor to consider.  The distance-from-hive-to-tree factor plays an important role in obtaining optimal yields of fruit.  South African research indicates that honey bees will forage up to 300m along rows of 4-year-old avocado trees and only 200m across rows (Sedgley 1987).  Again, this is important information for growers setting up orchards or replacing some trees with pollinisers to maximise yield.  As the trees get older, anecdotal evidence suggests that these distances will be reduced.

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