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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 288: VI International Symposium on Pollination

NESTING BIOLOGY AND FORAGING ACTIVITY OF CARPENTER BEE ON PASSION FRUIT

Authors:   M. Mardan, Ismail M. Yatim, Mohd. Raji Khalid
Abstract:
A study on the nesting biology and foraging behaviour of an indigenous carpenter bee (Platynopoda latipes Drury) in passion fruit (Passiflora edulis flavicarpa) orchard was conducted in Bukit Lawang, Johor, Malaysia. Dummy entrance-devices were utilised to attract founding gynes to construct their nest on provided nesting substrates, for the purpose of passion fruit pollination in large scale planting.

Observation on nesting substrates of using X-ray technique showed that P. latipes constructed multiple galleries (3–5) of about 11.4 cm (n=30) in length and gallery diameter of 2.1–2.3 cm. The distance between entrances (nearest) and length of the gallery nesting substrates was significantly correlated (r=0.96, p<0.05). Provisioned pollen balls sampled from few sealed cells were 2.63 cm3. The sampling of moisture content from different types of wood material chosen as nesting substrates by the carpenter bees ranged between 11–23% (n=9).

Studies on both the foraging behaviour of the carpenter bee and floral biology of the passion fruit indicated morphological and phenological compatibility in pollination. The above compatibility were detected in the synchrony between foraging rythmn of the bees and periodicity of blooming of the passion fruit flowers. Slight incompatibility in morphological features were observed between the thoracic width of the bee (2.1 cm) and the gap between the recurved stamens and stigma (full bloom) and the base of the corolla (1.7 cm). However, that compatibility is being upset by the presence of pollen competitors, the honeybees (Apis dorsata and A. cerana). Honeybees usually depletes the pollen before the carpenter bees during the feamle phase. Monitoring of nectar concentrations showed that the sugar concentration exceeded 40% (Brix index) during anthesis.

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