Designing semi-natural perennial plantings to support targeted pollinators for kiwifruit orchards

B.G. Howlett, M.M. Davidson, D.P. Logan, M. Gee, S.F.J. Read, J.H. Todd
Increased crop pollinator diversity, through the presence of semi-natural perennial habitat on farmland can provide pollination services that decrease crop yield deficits and aid long-term yield resilience. Intensified agricultural systems typically support limited semi-natural habitat increasing farmer reliance on managed honey bees for crop pollination. Designing on-farm natural plantings to support additional verified bee and non-bee pollinators is one approach towards diversifying and improving crop pollination services. In this study we firstly aimed to better understand which flower visitors were pollinators of 'Hayward' kiwifruit in New Zealand. By assessing the single visit stigmatic pollen deposition of 180 individual insects moving from staminate to pistillate flowers we verified 11 species/taxa as pollinators. These were the bees: Apis mellifera, Bombus terrestris, B. ruderatus, Leioproctus spp., Lasioglossum spp.; the flies: Eristalis tenax, Helophilus hochstetteri, Melangyna novaezelandiae, Melanostoma fasciatum, Dilophus nigrostigma and the beetle Zorion guttigerum. Using these data we then conducted literature/database searches to identify native (and common exotic) plant species these pollinators are known to interact with. We also recorded interactions between kiwifruit pest insects and these plant species. This information was used to tailor regionally specific semi-natural plantings on kiwifruit farms to increase pollinator diversity. These plantings will be monitored in future to determine their effect on pollinator diversity and crop yield over time.
Howlett, B.G., Davidson, M.M., Logan, D.P., Gee, M., Read, S.F.J. and Todd, J.H. (2022). Designing semi-natural perennial plantings to support targeted pollinators for kiwifruit orchards. Acta Hortic. 1332, 179-186
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2022.1332.24
pollinator efficiency, non-bee pollinators, native habitat, native bees, bumblebee, ecological intensification, Actinidia deliciosa

Acta Horticulturae