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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY BASED MANAGEMENT OF BOLL WEEVILS AND OTHER ROW CROP PESTS UNDER TRANSITION TO BOLL WEEVIL ERADICATION IN TEMPERATE REGIONS

Location: Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research Unit

Title: Pollen analyses for pollination research, unacetolyzed pollen

Author
item Jones, Gretchen

Submitted to: Journal of Pollination Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2012
Publication Date: September 30, 2012
Citation: Jones, G.D. 2012. Pollen analyses for pollination research, unacetolyzed pollen. Journal of Pollination Ecology. 9:96-107.

Interpretive Summary: Pollinators increase the yield of crops such as blueberries, almonds, peaches, cherries, etc. However, little is known about the everyday life of most pollinator. What plant species are pollinated by which pollinate? What can be done to increase the beneficial pollinators within a cropping system, habitat, region, etc.? Many pollinators feed on pollen, nectar and plant secretions associated with flowers. As a result of this feeding activity, pollen becomes attached to them. Identification of pollen attached to them can tell what they eat, how they move within and around cropping systems, and their role in pollination. Finding pollen on or in a pollinator depends largely on the technique used to recover the pollen. Two very easy techniques are described in detail that have been used to recover pollen from a variety of pollinators including beneficial and harmful insects, spiders, bats, and other pollinators. These techniques can be used to recover pollen from internal tissues (gut, alimentary canal, crop, etc.), external tissues (proboscis, legs, eyes, etc.), or both. By using the proper technique, better pollen recovery can be achieved and thus better data can be obtained about the pollinators, the foods they eat, the plants they pollinate, their migration routes, and their source zones.

Technical Abstract: Pollinators can significantly increase the potential yield of crops, but little is known about which pollinators pollinate various crop species. Many pollinators feed on pollen, nectar and plant secretions associated with flowers, and consequently pollen attaches to the pollinators. Identification of attached pollen can reveal what pollinators eat, how they move within the agricultural landscape, and their role in pollination. Two techniques are described in detail that can be used to recover pollen from internal tissues and external tissues of a variety of pollinators including beneficial and harmful insects, spiders, and bats. By using the proper pollen recovery technique, better data can be obtained about the species, host plants, migration routes, and source zones of pollinators.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014