Effect of Bumble Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Pollination Intensity on the Quality of Greenhouse Tomatoes

Authors: Morandin, L. A.; Laverty, T. M.; Kevan, P. G.

Source: Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 94, Number 1, February 2001 , pp. 172-179(8)

Publisher: Entomological Society of America

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Laboratory studies were conducted to assess tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. (Solanaceae), quality in relation to the level of buzz-pollination by bumble bees. Studies were conducted in commercial tomato greenhouses in the Leamington, Ontario, area to categorize bruising of tomato anther cones by bumble bees into five levels of bruising. The number of pollen grains per stigma was determined for each bruising level, and the bruising level was found to be a good predictor of stigmatic pollen load. Experimental flowers were pollinated by bumble bees and assigned to bruising levels based on the degree of anther cone discoloration. Fruit set, tomato weight, minimum diameter, the number of days until ripe, roundness, weight, percentage sugars, and number of seeds were assessed and compared among bruising level. Fruit set in flowers receiving no pollination visits was 30.2%, whereas, 83.3, 84.4, 81.2, and 100% of the flowers set fruit in bruising levels 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Minimum diameter, number of seeds, and tomato weight all increased from no bruising to different levels of bruising. There was no increase in weight or diameter above a bruising level of 1, and no increase in the number of seeds per fruit after a bruising level of 2. We found that pollination of tomato flowers greater than a bruising level of 2 (corresponding to approximately one to two bee visits) did not result in a significant increase in quality.

Keywords: bumble bee; greenhouse; pollination; tomato quality

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-94.1.172

Publication date: February 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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