Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Honey bee visitation to sunflower: effects on pollination and plant genotype

Dechechi Chambó, EmersonConceição Garcia, ReginaTavares Escocard de Oliveira, NewtonBarbosa Duarte-Júnior, José

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is an allogamic plant, which needs insects on flowering, especially the honeybees for seed production. Collecting nectar and pollen by honeybees in agricultural crops is essential to apiculture, as well as a better understanding of plant biology. The foraging behavior of Africanized Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera, Apidae) and its efficiency of pollination on seed yield of sunflower genotypes (open pollination and restricted pollination) were evaluated. There were peaks of visits by A. mellifera for nectar collection on the 2nd and 3rd flowering days between 7h00 and 8h30. The average density of A. mellifera during increased visitation ranged from 2.27 to 2.94 bees per capitulum. Nectar collecting bees were more frequent (2.28 bees per capitulum) than pollen collecting (0.40 bees per capitulum). On the 3rd flowering day, Helio 360 and Aguará hybrids had higher (p 0.05) number of bee visits per flower head than the other genotypes. Seed yield was 43 % higher (p 0.05) from sunflower plants that were visited by pollinator-insects compared with plants restricted to pollinators.

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