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pollination services

    Faba Beans

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.

There is a significant body of research to indicate that honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) play an important role in the pollination of faba beans.  Honey bee activity has been recognised as contributing to pollination in faba bean crops in Australia (Somerville 1999), although the introduction of managed honey bees into a flowering crop of faba beans has usually been thought unnecessary in Australia due to sufficient feral honey bee activity (Somerville 1999; Stoddard 1991).  Somerville (1999) found that honey bee pollination significantly improved the number of pods and yield of seeds of faba beans.

Further research by Stoddard (1991) found that honey bees were an essential step in gaining optimal yields in faba bean crops in Australia.  Stoddard (1991) suggested that growers in southern Australia have a unique situation in that the prevalence of feral bee populations means that growers should seldom have to consider importation of hives to supplement pollination by feral bees.  This situation may be a luxury of the past, considering the prevalence of several pest and diseases likely to affect feral honey bee populations as well as managed honey bees into the future.  The introduction of varroa poses considerable threat to the income of those farmers/horticulturalists relying on feral honey bee populations for pollination services.

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