Submitted to: Great Plains Sunflower Insect Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: This abstract is a summary of a talk given to highlight current and past research on pollinating sunflower germplasm in field cages. Finding the best pollinator is important because the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System's collection of sunflower, Helianthus spp., is maintained at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station located in Ames, IA, and each year the crop curator cultivates many sunflower populations for seed increase. Honey bees, the traditional pollinators, were compared to Osmia bees, alfalfa leafcutting bees, and bumblebees for their pollination efficiency. The tests were replicated in field cages. Based on the amount of seed obtained in field cages, the honey bee was the best pollinator for PI 586910 in 1995 and in 1996 they performed the same as Osmia bees. We also tested PI 586934 in 1996. We obtained the same results as in 1995. For the foreseeable future, honey bees will continue to be our insect pollinator of choice to increase sunflowers in field cages.