Key fruit crop insect foragers

Key fruit crop insect foragers

In projects to survey apple, pear and blackcurrant orchards, funded by the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, GSK, HDC and HortLINK, the most frequent fruit blossom insect visitors were identified.

Solitary bee nest

Solitary bee nest

In apple, insect visits were dominated by honey (Apis mellifera), bumble and solitary bees including Bombus (terristris/lucorum and lapidarius) and Andrena (dorsata, haemorrhoa, nitida).

Results indicated that the number of bees visiting pear and blackcurrant were about half the number of those visiting apple blossoms. A. mellifera, A. dorsata and A. haemorrhoa were dominant in pear.

Honeybee numbers were low and generally ‘unreliable’ in blackcurrant plantations with A. dorsata, A. haemorrhoa, A. flavipes and Bombus (terrestris/lucorum and lapidarius) dominating. A. dorsata and A. haemorrhoa were common solitary bees on all three crops. The percentage of solitary bees visiting the crops that were males also varied between crops ranging from only 7% in apple, to 68% in pear and 84% in blackcurrant.

Insects foraging on tree fruit crops at EMR

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