Publication details.


Author(s):A. Marqués, A. Juan, M. Ruíz, A. Traveset, M. Leza
Title:Improvement of almond production using Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Mediterranean conditions
JCR Impact Factor:2.211
Issue No.:10
Abstract:© 2019 Blackwell Verlag GmbHAlmond trees are one of the most important crops in the Balearic Islands. The pollination of almonds is limited to the activity of insects, and cross-pollination is necessary for fruit development. Currently, honey bees and wild bee populations are declining considerably due to multiple causes, such as the use of pesticides, diseases and habitat loss. An alternative to increase the almond production is the use of commercial pollinators. In this long-term (3 years) study, the effect of the introduction of Bombus terrestris colonies on almond production was evaluated in two orchards. Two experimental designs were carried out to study the best management of this pollinator. For 2 years, all bumble bee colonies were placed in the middle of the plot and during the last year, the bumble bee colonies were distributed homogenously in the plot. Fruit set and the foraging behaviour of bumble bees during the blossoming period was determined, and the effect of different environmental variables on the visitation rate of bumble bees was assessed by means of a generalized linear mixed model (GLMM). Moreover, for the first time, the spatial distribution of fruit set was evaluated. Our results show that fruit set was significantly higher in the fields where B. terrestris had been introduced than in the control plots. This increased production resulted in a positive economic balance for the farmer. Moreover, bumble bees showed to prefer trees in a southwest orientation that were close to their colony. The activity of bumble bees showed to be significantly influenced by wind speed (the higher the speed the more flowers are visited by B. terrestris) and time after flowering (visitation rate decreased with days after flowering). In order to improve its management and obtain the highest possible almond production, it is important to understand the activity and behaviour of this pollinator.

Related staff

  • Anna Traveset Vilagines
  • Related departments

  • Oceanography and Global Change
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  • Global Change Research