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pollination services

    Melons

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 that isolation of rockmelon and honeydew plants from pollinating insects results in little to no pollination of flowers.  Rockmelon and honeydew flowers can be considered self-fertile but not self-fertilising; therefore pollen must be transferred from the anthers to the stigma by insects.  Cross-pollination has also been shown to produce slightly heavier fruit (McGregor 1976). 

At least one viable pollen grain must be deposited on the stigma and fertilise an ovule if a seed is to be formed, thus if insufficient pollination occurs those melons with small numbers of seeds may be culled from the crop.  The effective period in which pollen can be deposited on the stigma is no more than a few hours in the morning, and if the temperature is high, the period may only be a few minutes (McGregor 1976). 

The benefits of honey bee pollination to rockmelon and honeydew production has been firmly established (Mann 1953; McGregor 1976).  Growers in the Waroona areas of Western Australian have also reported that using honey bees as pollinators increased production of rockmelon by up to 40%, from 600 to 1,000 cartons per acre annually.  Lemasson (1987) found that pollination of rockmelon using honey bees improved percentage fruit set and fruit weight significantly.

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