“TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE” THAT IS THE QUESTION? HARRY R. FULTON BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY MISSISSIPPI DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE & COMMERCE
Beekeeping, No MatterWhere, Involves a ComplexEnvironmental Interaction ofMany Living Organisms and Situations
But, if You Don’t Make Money Just Think!!!! USDA RESEARCH FROM THE1970’S SHOWS THAT EACH HIVEDOES ABOUT $2,000 WORTH OF POLLINATION!!!!!!!!!!!
No. bees and/or colonies suggested to enhance pollination of crops(From Insect Pollination o Cultivated Crop Plants, Agriculture Handbook No. 496)Fruit Orchards-Melons/Cucurbits-Clover (Seed)-Cotton-Blueberry-Strawberry-Pumpkins/squash-Blackberry-Vetch-Soybeans-Cole Crops-Onions
SIGNS OF ADEQUATE POLLINATION! General Look!– Symmetrical fruit– Seed pods filled.– Tight clusters of fruit/seed.
FEMALE MALE MALE ZUCCHINISQUASH FEMALE
Cotton and SoybeansAt least 1 colony per 5 acres.
Importance of Bees in Pollination CottonIs Mostly Self Pollinated with 5% natural CrossingPollen Grains are Large/Sticky- 81 to 143microns; therefore cotton is not Wind Pollinated!Pollen is transported mechanically from anthersto stigma!According to Literature the presence of largenumbers of honey bees can increase productionas up to 50% or even more!Just because a plant is touted to be self-pollinated it doesn’t mean pollinating insectsdon’t play a major role in pollinating the plant!!!!
SIGNS OF ADEQUATE POLLINATION! COTTON!All stigma tips are well coated with pollen by noon!Flower petals are changing from white to pinkand the corolla is closed into tunnel-like tubeby mid-afternoon.Is adequate if flowers are white at sunset.
COTTON POLLINATION Cotton Bloom Cotton Bloom • Stigma much higher than anthers• Stigma and Anthers close to same height! • Some Round-Up Ready Varieties• Most Standard Varieties?
THE FEAR!!! How Far are Bees safe From Cotton??Depends Upon the Pesticide Used!Damage May Occur up to 2 miles or more!I Have bees 50 feet from a 10 acreexperimental field and have had nodamage!
Importance of Bees in Pollination Soybeans – Very Good Nectar Producer if: Hot/Dry! Soil Ph high! Variety of Choice! – Up to 20% increase in Yields if: Adequate bee population present! Good fertility! Variety Is attractive to bees!
VetchOne colony per 3-5 acres.
BlackberryOne bee/100 blossoms or 1 colony/ acre.
Fruit OrchardsOne bee/1000 blossoms or 1colony per acre.
SIGNS OF ADEQUATE POLLINATION!! Apples!!- Most of apples developing from primary (king) flowers.
BlueberryMore than 1 colony/acre.
STRAWBERRY1 COLONY PER 2 ACRES
Pumpkins/squash/Cucumber At least 1 colony/acre.
Melons/CucurbitsOne Pollinator/100 blossoms atmidmorning or 1 colony per 2-3acres.
CUCUMBER FEMALEMALE FLOWER
SIGNS OF ADEQUATEPUMPKIN POLLINATION! CANTELOPE MELONS & CUCURBITS!! CUCUMBER WATERMELON SQUASH 2 + symmetrical fruits near base of plant
Clover (Seed) 1 or 2 colonies/acre.
SIGNS OF ADEQUATE POLLINATION! Clover/Alfalfa!!Fields have uniform “rustygreen” appearance. Not a spotty look!
COLE CROPS (BRASSICA SPP.) Two colonies per acre REQUIRE INSECT POLLINATIONBROCCOLIBRUSSELS SPROUTSCABBAGECAULIFLOWERKALEKOHLRABI
ONION AND LEEKTwo colonies per acre8-10 TIMES INCREASE IN YIELD WITH INSECT POLLINATION
Nectar Secretion Requires:Sunshine =PhotosynthesisSugar Production
Amount and Quality of Nectar Available to the bee is Determined by:Amount of Sugar Produced in PlantAtmospheric Pressure (Lower the Best)Temperature (Depends on Species ofPlant)Humidity (The Higher the Better withoutRain)Transpiration Rate of Plant (Osmosis)Precipitation Within the Last Few Hours