The order in which bee species visit flowers affects the size of the resulting fruit

Spring is in the air and that means flowering for many plants; natives, ornamentals and crops alike. Recent research into pollination has also borne fruit, a burst of publications that will help us to manage our ecosystems to improve crop yields, keep native vegetation healthy while protecting pollinating bees. We review a few of those papers here.

The order in which bee species visit flowers affects the size of the resulting fruit
Liam Kendall and colleagues observed floral visitation to blueberry flowers in NSW from honeybees, stingless bees or a mixture of both species and showed that the order that pollinator species visit flowers may affect pollination through a priority effect, whereby the first visitor reduces or modifies the contribution of subsequent visits. Fruit from mixed species visits were heavier overall than single species visits, because of a strong priority effect. An initial visit by a stingless bee fully pollinated the flower, limiting the pollination contribution of future visitors. However, after an initial honeybee visit, flowers were not fully pollinated and additional visitation had an additive effect upon fruit weight.

Liam K. Kendall, Jamie R. Stavert, Vesna Gagic, Mark Hall, Romina Rader. Initial floral visitor identity and foraging time strongly influence blueberry reproductive success. Basic and Applied Ecology, 60, 2022, Pages 114-122, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1439179122000202

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