|Authors: ||P. Benedek, T. Szabó, J. Nyéki|
|Keywords: ||Quince (Cydonia oblonga Mill.), cultivars, nectar production, sugar concentration, honeybees, bee visitation, foraging behaviour, bee pollination, fruit set, yield|
The research was conducted on 6 cultivars over three consecutive years.
Nectar production of quince was found to be small compared to other temperate zone fruit tree species, since quince flowers contained 1.07 ± 0.06 mg of nectar on average.
Sugar concentration ranged between 21-27 % on average in different years with a range between 9-47.5 %. There was a significant negative correlation between the amount of nectar and its sugar concentration, but no definite difference was established between the nectar production of quince cultivars.
In spite of this, bee visitation was highly intense about 5.5 bee visits were counted on average at 50 open quince flowers in 10 minutes and about 9.7 flowers out of 50 were visited.
This equals about 7 bee visits per flower per day in good weather.
Some cultivars tended to be more and less visited by honeybees.
Most honeybees tended to collect pollen (51.6 % in average for the 3 years) and usually fewer gathered only nectar (19.9 %), while the rest had a mixed foraging behaviour gathering both (28.5 %). There were slight differences in the foraging behaviour of honeybees on some cultivars, but these differences were not always consequent in consecutive years.
Quince is highly sensitive to partial and/or complete limitation of the insect (bee) pollination period.
Complete limitation of insect pollination resulted in no yield and partial limitation of the insect pollination period depressed the final set and yield by at least 60-70 % or more.
Significant correlation was established between the intensity of honeybee visitation and the consequent yield of quince.
As much as 4-5 or 8-10 honeybee visits are needed per day on one flower to achieve the required optimal fruit set that has been declared in the literature to be 20-25 % for quince.
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