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Tree Fruit and Berry Pollination in Virginia (and the mid-Atlantic by extension)

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This program is a slightly expanded and updated version of a presentation given to Virginia beekeepers in April 2010. It covers basic terminology of pollination (cross-pollination, pollenizer, etc.), common fruit grown in the mid-Atlantic, basics of flower structure and varietal issues relating to pollination needs, honey bee (Apis mellifera) colony recommendations, and highlights non-Apis bees important for pollination. It also highlights fruit families and relationships to native flora, providing fruit for thought regarding pollination in the New World prior to introduction of honey bees. Research results regarding the role of non-Apis bees are summarized, along with buzz pollination, and land management suggestions to support pollinator populations.

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Tree Fruit and Berry Pollination in Virginia (and the mid-Atlantic by extension)

  1. 1. Bee Pollination of Tree Fruits & Berries in Virginia(an expanded version of apresentation to VirginiaState Beekeepers on16 April 2010)Nancy Adamson, Richard Fell, Donald MullinsVT Entomology Department
  2. 2. Program Overview Tree fruits & berries grown in Virginia Colony recommendations Pollination research on non-Apis bees & a little more pollination biology honey bee to peach
  3. 3. Insect pollinated* fruit grown in VirginiaRosaceae (rose family) Other fruit families apple & crab apple, pear,  Cucurbitaceae (cucurbit): serviceberry, quince watermelon, musk melon caneberry (raspberry,  Annonaceae (custard-apple): blackberry, black raspberry, pawpaw wineberry)  Grossulariaceae: gooseberry, peach, plum, nectarine, currant apricot  Ebonaceae (ebony): persimmon strawberry  Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle): elderberry  Actinidiaceae (ChineseEricaceae (heath family) gooseberry): kiwi blueberry, cranberry,  Passifloraceae: passion flower huckleberry  Cactaceae (cactus): prickly pear* Grapes and mulberries don’t depend on insects—can you think of others?
  4. 4. Most fruit crops benefit from cross-pollinationSome crop varieties*require cross-pollination  apples, blueberries, cherries, kiwis, persimmons, sunflowers, caneberries**, and hemp (McGregor 1976, Free 1993, McConkey 2009) two apple varieties*Variety is a horticultural term for plants of onespecies with specific characteristics •Red Delicious, Fuji, and Pink Lady apples • Bing and Rainier cherries
  5. 5. Self-fertile plants—cross-pollination improves size and shapeMany caneberries** are sold as self-fertile halictid bee on raspberryAutumn Bliss (l) & Josephine (r) raspberries** Caneberries are raspberries,blackberries, black raspberries, etc. bumble bee on blackberry
  6. 6. Cross-pollination requirements/recommendations varytremendously by varietyPollenizers are the pollen “donors” Crab apples are often used as pollenizers in apple cultivation •Bill Frieman of Doe Creek Orchard in Pembroke, VA prefers to use compatible saleable varieties Here, 2 varieties are in different rows Notice larger flowers in left variety
  7. 7. Cross-pollinationneeds vary by variety cherry pollination chart Many of these cherryvarieties are self-sterile Some are cross-incompatible* (for ex.Emporer Frances, Bing, &Kristin)  Check with nurseries for pollenizer requirements  Especially important to match pollenizers to the harvest variety by bloom time * Cross-incompatible varieties cannot pollinate http://freedomtreefarms.com/chart s/cherry/ one another
  8. 8. Pollination requirements and flower structure: more ovaries require more visits Prunus spp.: plums, cherries, peaches, apricots & almonds  very early spring flowering, single* ovary forms “stone” fruits, drupes pollen single ovary *One visit may be adequate if the female parts are receptive, the pollen viable, and the varieties compatible.
  9. 9. Flower parts may mature at different times—promotes cross-fertilization (vigor in the big scheme) Malus spp.– apples and crab apples  5 ovaries need multiple visits, generally proterogynous (pollen is shed after stigma is no longer receptive--prevents self-fertilization) apple flowers &andrenid beeovaries
  10. 10. Aggregate* & accessory fruits (multiple ovaries & visits) Rubus spp. – caneberries (drupelets) Fragaria spp.– strawberries (seeds are achenes) blackberry raspberry strawberry*Fleshy fruit forms from ovary. Accessory fruit(strawberries and apples) flesh forms from non-ovarial tissue.
  11. 11. True berries—single ovary, multiple seeds & visits Vaccinium spp.—blueberries & cranberries Ribes spp.—currants, gooseberries gooseberry Asimonatriloba--pawpaw blueberry pawpaw* cranberry * fetid flower odor attracts fly and beetle pollinators photo courtesy of Margie Adamson
  12. 12. Dr. Fell* recommends 1 to 2 honey bee colonies/acre for tree fruit(~1 to 3 are recommended for berries) plum pollination chart  Some self-sterile, cross- incompatible, or low sugar nectar crops need more colonies  Red Delicious apples, plums, pears * Dr. Richard Fell is the Apiculture Extension Agent at Virginia Tech http://freedomtreefarms.com/chart s/cherry/
  13. 13. Some single ovary early bloomers may not benefit fromintroduced honey bee colonies Stone fruits, like peaches& nectarines, require thinning by hand (apples can be chemically thinned) honey bee on peach single stigma (leads to ovary)
  14. 14. Bees tend to move down rows—best to interplant pollenizers Dwarf and semi-dwarf stock may need more colonies  dwarf stock=more densely planted In this orchard layout, pollenizers are interplanted http://www.taranakifarm.c om
  15. 15. Fell’s “rule of thumb” for farmers to determine if there areadequate bees in orchards Monitor number of bees in 1 tree on a warm, sunny day  30 seconds  OK if 8 to 12 bees (including bumble, mason, and mining bees) Average at several trees, at various distances from colonies Osmia (mason bee) on apple
  16. 16. Questions before moving on to pollination research?
  17. 17. Is a global pollinator decline affecting Virginia?  1  Periodic honey bee disease cycle since 1915  approximately 15 to 20 year cycle (Johnson 2010, Morse and Flottam 1997)  Status of Pollinators in N. America, 2007 (Natural Resource Council of the National Academy of Science)  Baseline data needed  Increasing pollinator dependent crop acres (Aizen 2008)
  18. 18. Primary research objective Investigate the role of native and other non-Apis bees in pollination of entomophilous* crops in southwest Virginia Available Virginia crop values:  apples $37.7 million apple industry value=$235 million (USDA-NASS 2009, VA Apple Board 2010)  tomatoes $88.3 million (USDA-NASS 2006)**  cucumbers $4.3 million (USDA-NASS 2006)  watermelons $3.6 million (USDA-NASS 2006) **Not dependent on bees (except in halictid bee greenhouses)—bee pollination improves yield & on blueberry quality in field grown tomatoes.*Entomophilous derives from Greek for “insects” and “that which is loved.” Unlikewind pollinated plants, entomophilous plants attract insects with nectar, etc.
  19. 19. Study Area in SW Virginia Virginia Blacksburg Undergraduate researcher, Jennifer Kilby, collecting bowl trap specimens at a caneberry site
  20. 20. Methods: Bee Surveys & Pollen Samples Survey bees in apple, blueberry, caneberry, & cucurbits • Survey only when weather conducive to bee activity orchard bee • Visual counts & netting at on apple flower at peak flowering time • Bowl traps (for overall site species richness) • Pollen load samples (netted at flower) fluorescent blue bowl trap (withyellow fluorescent & white bowls) in apple orchard— soap in water breaks surface tension, bees drown
  21. 21. Insect pollinated fruit grown in Virginia Study crops  apple  blueberry  caneberry • raspberry • blackberry • black raspberry mining bee on apple
  22. 22. Other insect pollinated fruit grown in Virginia  watermelon, musk melon  pear, crab apple, serviceberry, quince (pome fruits)  peach, plum, nectarine, apricot(stone fruits)  pawpaw  strawberry  wineberry  gooseberry, currant  persimmon  cranberry, huckleberry  elderberry  kiwi  passion fruit  prickly pear honey bee on prickly pear
  23. 23. Crops with Virginia native relatives (shown in BLUE)—whatpollinated these before honey bees were introduced? Rosaceae (rose family) Other fruit families  apple & crab apple, pear,  Cucurbitaceae (cucurbit): serviceberry, quince watermelon, musk melon  caneberry (raspberry,  Annonaceae (custard-apple): blackberry, black pawpaw raspberry, wineberry)  Grossulariaceae: gooseberry,  peach, cherry, plum, currant nectarine, apricot  Ebonaceae (ebony): persimmon  strawberry  Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle): elderberry Ericaceae (heath family)  Actinidiaceae (Chinese  blueberry, cranberry, gooseberry): kiwi huckleberry  Passifloraceae: passion flower Have more VA relatives not shown  Cactaceae (cactus): prickly pear
  24. 24. Besides honey bees, what other bees are important croppollinators in the mid-Atlantic region? mining bees mason bees, Osmia spp. Andrena spp. bumble bees Bombus spp. squash beesPeponapispruinosa halictid (sweat) beesXenoglossastrenua (various genera) Osmia photos by T’ai Roulston, http://people.virginia.edu/~thr8z/Bee_Diversity/Blandy_Bee_Diversity.php
  25. 25. Honey bees are eusocial, bumble bees are primitivelyeusocial, and most other bees are solitary Bumble bee queens start a  Female solitary bees make new colony in spring and provision their nests alone mining bee (solitary) blue orchard bee (solitary)
  26. 26. Some bees are active in cooler temperatures in spring or earlier in the morning than honey bees early spring bees  bumble bees, Bombus spp.  mining bees, Andrena spp.  blue orchard bees, Osmia spp.  large carpenter bees, Xylocopa spp. summertime early risers  bumble bees, Bombus spp.  squash bees,XenoglossastrenuaPeponapispruinosa  large carpenter bees, Xylocopa spp. some work later into the evening  many, including bumble bees
  27. 27. Many native bees “buzz” pollinate—sonicating flowersimproves pollination of crops like blueberry tomato Nightshade heath families (tomato blueberry, etc) pollen is only released when sonicated, like sound is released from a tuning fork
  28. 28. Percentages of bees visiting crop flowers (2008-2009 study) Non-honey bees
  29. 29. Andrenid bees were the most common genus on apple andblueberry (27 species of Andrena in 70 total species on apple) Andrenabarbarawas the most common species on apple (1/4 of all specimens collected).
  30. 30. Next step: Compare bee species richnesswith landscape metrics vegetation, land cover classes (NLCD), soil (SSURGO)  compare data freely available online versus field surveys
  31. 31. Management Implications: Practices that support native beepopulations like protecting natural areas also benefit honey bees  Some of the best pollen nectar sources are found in natural areas  willow, tulip tree, locust, sourwood, sumac, wingstem, goldenrod… bees!!! on wingstem
  32. 32. Management Implications: Remind farmers to avoid chemicaluse when bees are active or reduce use all together You can’t move native bee nests—avoid spraying during the day Bees collect pollen from many sources (even plants that are wind-pollinated) Fungicides, though not intended for insects, harm bees bumble honey bees collecting corn pollen
  33. 33. Management Implications: Native bees nest in the groundand in vegetation  Protect natural areas or create buffer zones to support bees  leave brushy debris unless it may harbor a pest species  provide nesting sites such as wood blocks, bundles of reed, or bare patches of earth Many trees are fantastic sources of nectar and pollen  stream buffers provide some of the best habitat Hedgerows also support other beneficial creatures  spiders predatory wasps
  34. 34. The following links are in a small hand-out--they include info onpollinator habitat identificationFRONT SIDEXerces Society: www.xerces.orgFarming for Bees: Guidelines for Providing Native Bee Habitat on Farms UsingFarm Bill Programs for Pollinator ConservationPollinator Partnership: www.pollinator.orgSelecting Plants for Pollinators: A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers,and Gardeners in the Southeastern Mixed Forest ProvinceNorth American Pollinator Protection Campaign: www.nappc.orgReducing Risk to Pollinators from PesticidesBee IdentificationDiscover Life: www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=ApoideaUSGS, Sam Droege: www.slideshare.net/sdroege/slideshowsVA, Tai Roulston: people.virginia.edu/~thr8z/Bee_Diversity/Blandy_Bee _Diversity.phpFlorida (good intro): chiron.valdosta.edu/jbpascar/Intro.htmBug Guide: bugguide.net
  35. 35. BACK SIDE of HAND-OUTNational Biological Information Infrastructure:pollinators.nbii.gov/portal/community/Communities/Ecological_Topics/Pollinators/Pollinator_Species/Invertebrates/Bees_and_Wasps/USDA Sustaining Native Bee Habitat For Crop Poll’nplants.usda.gov/pollinators/Agroforestry_Sustaining_Native_Bee_Habitat_for_Crop_Pollination.pdfSARE’s Managing Alternative Pollinators (for beekeepers, growers, andconservationists) http://www.nraes.org/nra_map.html Mid-AtlanticVA Fruit Page: http://www.virginiafruit.ento.vt.edu/VAFS-bees.htmlMid-Atlantic Apiculture Research Extension Consortium: maarec.psu.eduDE Dept of Agric: dda.delaware.gov/plantind/pollinator.shtml (several terrificguides on native bees, native plants, and farming for bees)MD DNR: www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/wabees.asp (Wild Backyard--Bees)PA NJ: www.extension.org/mediawiki/files/1/15/NativeBees2009.pdf
  36. 36. Acknowledgements Richard Fell, Donald Mullins--Co- Advisors Douglas Pfeiffer, Lisa Kennedy, T’aiRoulston—Committee Members Virginia State government—grant support via the Virginia Cooperative Extension All the farmers who so generously give access to their farms for this research Sam Droege, US Geological Survey Bee Guru Margie Adamson, Sydney Church, Clare Davidoski, Jennifer Kilby--behind the scenes VT Entomology Department
  37. 37. Thanks for use of photos from the followingweb sources http://www.holtanatomical.com/ http://appleparermuseum.com/Images/AppleLongSection230.jpe g http://comenius.susqu.edu/bi/202/ARCHAEPLASTIDA/VIRIDIPL ANTAE/Flowering%20Plants/judd-photos/Frageria-flower-l-s.jpg http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/vascular/ros.htm http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/Photos/Prunus_flower.jpg http://www.beeculture.com/content/pollination_handbook/196.gif http://www.katsushikahokusai.org/Plum-Blossom-and-the- Moon.jpg http://knowledge.allianz.com/nopi_downloads/images/C5_plum_ pox_resistant_plum_genetically_modified_GMO_q.jpg http://gemini.oscs.montana.edu/~mlavin/b436/labtotal.htm http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/imgs/128x192/0000_0000/0504/03 00.jpeg http://www.naturehills.com/images/productImages/gooseberry_re d_big.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Asimina_triloba3.jpgto share aHopefully I haven’t forgotten anyone. If I have or you wantbetter photo with me, please contact me at nladamson@gmail.com.Other photos are my own or acknowledged within the slides.
  38. 38. Questions?

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