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pollination services


Below is an extract from a pollination research paper prepared by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).  To download the document, simply click on the image on the left of this screen.

Several studies both overseas and within Australia have demonstrated the value of having insect pollinators in blueberry plantations (Rhodes 2006; Goodman and Clayton-Greene 1988; DPI 2008; Sampson and Cane 2000).  Goodman & Clayton- Greene (1988) showed that plants visited by honey bees have a greater percentage fruit set, increased fruit numbers and more fruit by weight than plants caged to prevent access by bees and larger insects.  Inter-planting of varieties capable of cross-pollinating one another has also increased fruit set and size over single-variety plantings (DPI 2008).  Insect-pollinated fruit has been found to mature 4-12 days earlier and to be up to 50% larger, depending on the variety (Rhodes 2006; DPI 2008) and fruit size has also been found to be directly related to seed numbers with seed counts of 3-75 per fruit (Goodman and Clayton-Greene 1988). 

Studies in the USA have demonstrated the value of having bee hives within plantations to improve fruit set (DPI 2008; McGregor 1976); however, some overseas authors suggest that commercial honey bees are not the most efficient  pollinators of blueberries (McGregor 1976).  For the case of  Australia, honey bees are the most widely available and easily managed insect pollinator (DPI 2008). Several other insects and smaller native bees may also assist in pollination although these species are not readily available in Australia due to quarantine and are thus a non-viable option.

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