Assessing the Role of Honey Bees in a Field of Asiatic Cotton ( Gossypium arboreum L. ) by A. S. Tanda, Department of Entomology, Punjab Agricultural University, Luhiana-141004 INDIA
Flowers of the Asiatic Cotton (Gossypium arboreum L.) were visited by honey bees, wild bees, scoolids, and butterflies.
Honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) and A. cerana indica F.) increased the boll retention rate by 7 to 12% through pollination.
There was also an improvement in the quality of the cotton .
INTRODUCTION to: Assessing the Role of Honey Bees in a Field of Asiatic Cotton
Cotton & Bees
Important fiber crop of Punjab, India
Role of Asiatic Cotton:
Roles of Honey Bees:
improving the quantity and quality of cotton by:
intra pollination of this species of cotton
Intervarietal pollination of this species of cotton
(Tanda, 1976; Tanda and Goyal, 1978, 1979a-d).
Other Cotton Species:
( G. hirsutum L.)
is also grown for commercial
purposes in the southern district of Punjab
In the present communication, studies have been conducted to gather evidence:
to assess the honey bee's efficiency in a field of Asiatic cotton
on the behavior and effect on boll retention
on the qualitative characteristics
NOTE: These studies were carried out at Punjab Agricultural University, Luhiana, and at Nakodar, two Asiatic cotton-growing localities of the Punjab.
REPORT TO FOLLOW
For insect visitation, quadrats (2 × 2 m) were marked;
Insect visitors were watched during peak hours
(9-11 a.m.) of the day
Twenty observations (10+10 in each locality) were made for this purpose
For counting the flower visitation per trip, individual foragers were followed as they arrived in the field until they left the field
Total number of flowers visited by a forager per minute was noted with the help of a stop watch
(see Tanda and Goyal, 1979c)
BEE POLLINATED FLOWERS by Apis mellifera L. or A. cerana indica F
Pollen grain deposition by honey bees
(A. mellifera L. and A. c. indica F.)
on the stigmas was assured by visual cum eye lens in 50 flowers,
in the field, and were marked
Apices of the corollae of another
set of 50 flowers were tied with
ordinary thread allowing only self
pollination to occur
Transpired simultaneously with the bee pollinated flowers.
OPEN POLLINATED FLOWERS
Additionally another set of newly opened flowers was tagged and left untreated to receive pollination naturally in the open
(Tanda and Goya 1978)
Upon opening of mature bolls:
(1)cotton from each boll was collected
(2) dried in the sun for one day
(3)weighed separately after drying
The cotton collected from each boll was also tested for quality using the following criteria:
(1)mean fiber length
(3)mean fiber length
RESULTS: These findings are the results of: (1) Number of bee visits per flower (2) Pollination efficiency of bees (3) Number of flower visits (4) Effect on quantity & quality of Asiatic cotton * See TABLE 1 Below
TABLE 1 4.6 flowers p/m 86.60 A. mellifera L 5.5 flowers p/m 94.35 A. dorsata F. 5.7 flowers p/m 124.10 per trip ¾ A. c. indica F. Time Visited Per Minute Max. # of Flowers Visited Per Trip Bee Species
The following chart (CHART 1) contains the average data found per insect group for each local. Note that the group “honey bees” includes: A. mellifera, A.c. indica, A. c. indica, A. florea CHART 1 to follow
The proceeding graph (GRAPH 2) will document the effect of the three different types of pollination on boll retention among cotton crops.
Effects of bee pollination on boll retention and qualitative characteristics of Asiatic cotton (G. arboreum), 4.0 3.6 4.2 4.3g% seed index 33.7 33.2 34.2 34.3% ginning turn-out (%lint) 17.1 17.0 18.1 18.1mm halo length 15.8 15.5 16.2 16.3mm a mean fiber length 1.7 1.6 1.7 1.8g seed cotton weight per boll 50 30 57 62% boll-retention rate Open Pollinated Self pollination A. c. indica , Apis mellifera FLOWERS :
General Notes The C.D. (critical difference) at 5%, —, 0.07, 0.53, 1.09, 0.79, 0.29, respectively. In all the tests, the quality of cotton produced in bagged bolls pollinated by bees was significantly superior to that of cotton produced in bag without bees. However, the difference obtained with A. mellifera and A. c. indica bees was not significant. Similar results have been obtained by McGregor (1976) and Tanda and Goyal (1979b) in cage in which bees were confined.
Works Cited Free, J.B., (1976). Insect Pollination of Crops , Academic Press: London. 544 pp. Goyal, N.P. and A.S. Tanda. (1978) Effect of Bee Pollination on Boll Retention in Gossypium Arboreum Linn . Seed Farms . Vol. 4, Issue 3, pp 45-46. Goyal, N.P. and A.S. Tanda. (1979) Insect pollination in Asiatic Cotton . Journal of Agricultural Research , Vol. 18 Issue 3. pp 64-72. Goyal, N.P. and A.S. Tanda. (1979) Pollen Dispersal by Insects in Desi Cotton (Gossypium arboreum Linn.) Seeds Farms , Vol. 5. Issues 5-8. pp 56-59. Goyal, N.P. and A.S. Tanda. (1979) Preliminary Observations on the Effect of Intervarietal Bee Pollination of Desi Cotton (Gossypium arboreum Linn.) Indian Journal Entomology , Vol. 41, Issue 3. pp 281-282. Goyal, N.P. and A.S. Tanda. (1979) S ome Observations on the Behavior of Apis mellifera Linn. and Apis cerana indica Workers in a Field of Desi Cotton ( Gossypium arboreum Linn.) American Bee Journal , Vol. 119. Issue 2. pp 106. McGregor, S. E., (1976) Insect Pollination of Cultivated Crops . U.S. Govt. Printing Office :Wasghington, D.C. 400 pp. Tanda, A.S. (1976) Studies on the Role of Insect Pollination in Desi Cotrton (Gossypium arboreum L.) Punjab Agricultural Univ: Ludhiana. 73 pp.