Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/19/2004
Publication Date: 10/4/2004
Citation: Elzen, P.J., Elzen, G.W., Lester, G.E. 2004. Compatibility of an organically-based insect control program with honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) pollination in cantaloupes. Journal of Economic Entomology. 97(5):1513-1516. Interpretive Summary: Reduction of synthetic pesticides in crops is desirable for human safety and for safety of beneficial insects in those crops. One such beneficial is the honey bee, which is used to pollinate commercially grown cantaloupes. We tested a natural organic insecticide for its effects on pollination efficiency of honey bees in south Texas. We found the compound, azadirachtin, did not repel or deter pollination of cantaloupes by honey bees foraging during treatment. This information provides to growers the option of utilizing an organically-based insect control program that will not affect pollination efficiency of foraging honey bees.
Technical Abstract: Utilization of the organic crop insect control compound azadirachtin, applied foliarly in cantaloupes did not significantly reduce successful pollination by commercially-managed honey bees (Apis mellifera L.), compared to the standard synthetic insecticide (imidacloprid) applied only to the soil. Fruit yield and quality, as a function of bee pollination, were comparable between the two treatments. The standard treatment gave significantly better control of one pest (cucumber beetle) early in the season. Fruit maturity was delayed in untreated plots, consistent with light insect pressure observed. These results indicate that an organically-based insect control approach will not alter bloom acceptance and bee forager activity in cantaloupes.