PLANNED HONEY BEE POLLINATION IN LITCHI (LITCHI CHINENSIS SONN.) - A NEW PRODUCTION STRATEGY FOR ENHANCING FRUIT YIELD AND QUALITY IN INDIA
Pollination is a vital step in a litchi production system, as both fruit yield and quality are dependent on the extent of cross pollination. The extent of cross-pollination and enhanced fruit setting in litchi is significantly carried out by honey bees in the region. The present study made on pollination recommendations and practices in litchi during the two-year period of 2009-10 and 2010-11 at NRC for litchi, Muzaffarpur, Bihar, which envisaged placing honey bees in litchi orchards, gives an important and practical solution for assuring adequate pollination and fruit set. The foraging studies, more particularly in litchi flowering season, have given an indication that a minimum range of 5 to 10 honey bee colonies per ha of litchi cultivation should be provided. This study is based on the tentative number of visits of honey bees per panicle in litchi orchards having 144 litchi plants/ha at a spacing of 8.0 m. The extent of pollination and fruit set exclusively by honey bees has been recorded under controlled pollination experiments. The assessment of fruit yield and quality attributes have shown quite encouraging results confirming the significant role of honeybees in planned bee pollination. The response of cross- versus self-pollination through controlled pollination has been found distinct in litchi (Shahi) fruit production. No fruit set in the case of controlled pollination under cages indicated sterile flowers in the same tree. The present study clearly spelled the need for an abundance of insect pollinators in a planned way for pollen transfer to complete the process of cross pollination and fruit set to achieve potential yield and quality. The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) has been found the most efficient pollinator of litchi as compared to others.
Kumar, R. (2014). PLANNED HONEY BEE POLLINATION IN LITCHI (LITCHI CHINENSIS SONN.) - A NEW PRODUCTION STRATEGY FOR ENHANCING FRUIT YIELD AND QUALITY IN INDIA. Acta Hortic. 1029, 281-286
litchi, pollination, honey bee, yield, fruit quality