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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Acta Horticulturae An Effective, Manageable Bee for Pollination of Rubus Cane Fruits, Osmia Aglaia

Author
item Cane, James

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2006
Publication Date: January 1, 2008
Citation: Cane, J.H. 2008. Acta horticulturae an effective, manageable bee for pollination of rubus cane fruits, osmia aglaia. Acta Horticulturae. (ISHS) 777: 459-464

Interpretive Summary: A native West Coast bee, Osmia aglaia, shows promise as a manageable and effective pollinator for commercial raspberries and blackberries. It is at least as effective a pollinator as the honey bee for pollinating red raspberries. Females O. aglaia readily visited flowers of various kinds of blackberries. Female foraging behavior ensures consistent pollination. The bee readily nests in inexpensive commercial foam nesting substrates modified from those already used for the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee. An affordable, durable nesting shelter has also been field tested. Large nesting populations are being increased in commercial cane fruits in Oregon. Within its range in western Oregon and California USA, this effective native pollinator could be a sustainably managed bee for cultivated raspberries and blackberries.

Technical Abstract: The non-social cavity-nesting bee Osmia aglaia Sandhouse (Apiformes: Megachilidae) shows promise as a manageable and effective pollinator for commercial raspberries and blackberries (Rubus). Floral visits by honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) or by less numerous caged O. aglaia yielded red raspberries of equivalent size; berries from unvisited flowers were significantly smaller. Female O. aglaia readily visited flowers of various blackberry cultivars too. Female foraging behavior atop the flower maximizes the chances for pollen transfer to innermost pistils. The bee readily nests in inexpensive commercial foam nesting substrates modified from those already used for the alfalfa leaf-cutting bee. An affordable, durable nesting shelter and practical support frame have also been field tested. Large nesting populations have been increased in commercial cane fruits in Oregon USA. Within its range in western Oregon and California USA, this effective native pollinator of Rubus could be a sustainably managed bee for cultivated cane fruits.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014