Native Australian carpenter bees as a potential alternative to introducing bumble bees for tomato pollination in greenhouses

Katja Hogendoorn, Zeta Steen, Michael P. Schwarz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    38 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    There is commercial pressure to permit the introduction of bumble bees to mainland Australia for pollination of tomatoes in greenhouses. Bumble bees do not occur on mainland Australia, and there are indications that the recently introduced Bombus terrestris presents a threat to native ecosystems on Tasmania. In this pilot study, it was investigated whether the native green carpenter bees (Xylocopa (Lestis)) could be used as an alternative to bumble bees for tomato pollination. It is shown that Lestis females will visit and buzz pollinate flowers in a greenhouse and that tomatoes grown from Lestis pollinated flowers are on average heavier and contain more seeds than tomatoes that were not pollinated by Lestis. Therefore, there is potential to use Lestis for tomato pollination once methods for mass rearing the bees have been developed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-74
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Apicultural Research
    Volume39
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

    Keywords

    • Bombus
    • Bumble bees
    • Buzz pollination
    • Carpenter bees
    • Greenhouses
    • Lestis
    • Tomato
    • Xylocopa

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