- Fruits: berries (other)
- Animals: bees
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
- Production Systems: general crop production
The highbush blueberry (V. australe Small and V. corymbosum L.) is the major cultivated species of blueberry in North America. A good commercial blueberry crop requires that at least 80 percent of the blossoms set fruit. Blueberry flowers are characterized as being an entomophilous flower, which is defined as a flower adapted for insect pollination. Three types of bees account for nearly all of the pollination of blueberry flowers; bumblebees (Bombus spp.), honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) and solitary bees (Osmia spp.). Due to cost and maintenance issues of honey bee colonies, other pollinator species for blueberry pollination needs to be evaluated. Four pollinator treatments will be evaluated; hornedfaced bee (Osmia cornifrons Radoszkowski), honey bees, natural pollinators, and no pollinators to determine if use of the hornedfaced bee will successfully pollinate blueberry blooms and produce an increased fruit set and a higher quality berry as compared to the other pollinator treatments.
Project objectives from proposal:
To compare the effects on blueberry flower pollination using hornedfaced bee (Osmia cornifrons), honey bees, natural pollinators, and no pollinators treatments at three different locations based on local pollinator population type.
1. West Virginia University Plant and Soil Science Farm
1a. Established honeybee pollination program
2. Commercial Blueberry Farm
2a. Established hornedfaced pollination program.
3. Developing commercial blueberry farm
3a. Relying completely on natural pollinators with no honeybee or hornedfaced pollination programs located within pollination range.
To disseminate research information via peer reviewed journal articles, on-farm demonstrations, grower meetings, web-sites and other extension channels.