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Pollination of Italzucchini (Cucurbita pepo L.) in greenhouse by honey bees kept in hives with two entrances

Grant number: 18/25278-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Animal Husbandry - Ecology of Domestic Animals and Ethology
Principal researcher:Daniel Nicodemo
Grantee:Beatriz de Jesus Rodrigues
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Tecnológicas. Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Dracena. Dracena , SP, Brazil


A certain level of dependence on pollinating agents that favor seed and fruit production is inherent in most agricultural crops. However, some farmers have adopted alternative methods to entomophilous pollination, which can be less interesting from an economic, social and environmental point of view. The aim of the present work is to verify whether the controlled pollination with honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) of Italian zucchini (Cucurbita pepo L.) cultivated in greenhouses satisfies the demand of the crop by pollinators in comparison to the traditional service of hand pollination. On March and September 2019, in Dracena, SP, Italian zucchini seeds will be sown in trays containing substrate. The established seedlings will be transplanted in two greenhouses, spaced 1,3x0,5 m. In one of the greenhouses throughout the flowering season, a hive with two entrances will be used, allowing the visit of bees to the zucchini flowers between 8am and 12pm. The rest of the day, the bees will have free access just outside. The hive will remain in the greenhouse for 14 days and will be replaced by another that will remain for the same period of time and this replacement process will be carried out until the end of the flowering period. In the other greenhouse, without bees, daily, will be carried out the service of hand pollination. A study of the floral biology of the crop will be carried out, regarding the production of flowers per plant, the duration of the anthesis period, production of pollen grains per flower, viability of the pollen grains and receptivity of the stigma. The foraging behavior of honey bees to Italian zucchini flowers, including time and type of collected floral resource, will be verified. The fruit production will be quantified with regard to fruit set and fruit weight, from flowers pollinated by the bees or manually. The time spent in the hand pollination service and in the hive management service will be recorded. For the statistical analysis, the data obtained will be submitted to analysis of variance and for the multiple comparisons will be used the test of Tukey, at the level of significance of 5%.

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