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Insects 2019, 10(2), 34;

Limited Cross Plant Movement and Non-Crop Preferences Reduce the Efficiency of Honey Bees as Pollinators of Hybrid Carrot Seed Crops

Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania, Churchill Ave, Hobart 7005, Australia
School of Molecular Sciences, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy, Perth 6009, Australia
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Callemondah 4701, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 January 2019 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 21 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
PDF [632 KB, uploaded 3 February 2019]


Pollination rates in hybrid carrot crops remain limited after introduction of honey bee hives. In this study, honey bee foraging behaviour was observed in commercial hybrid carrot seed crops. Significantly more visits were made to male-fertile (MF) rather than cytoplasmically male-sterile (CMS) flowers. Pollen was collected from bees returning to a hive, to determine daily variation in pollen loads collected and to what level the bees were foraging for carrot pollen. Honey bees visited a wide range of alternative pollen sources and made relatively few visits to carrot plants throughout the period of flowering. Visitation rates to other individual floral sources fluctuated but visitation to carrot was consistently low. The underlying rate of carrot pollen visits among collecting trips was modelled and estimated to be as low as 1.4%, a likely cause of the limited success implementing honey bee hives in carrot crops. View Full-Text
Keywords: crop carrot; hybrid; honey bee; pollination crop carrot; hybrid; honey bee; pollination

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Gaffney, A.; Bohman, B.; Quarrell, S.R.; Brown, P.H.; Allen, G.R. Limited Cross Plant Movement and Non-Crop Preferences Reduce the Efficiency of Honey Bees as Pollinators of Hybrid Carrot Seed Crops. Insects 2019, 10, 34.

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