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Native flower strips increase visitation by non-bee insects to avocado flowers and promote yield

Abstract : Pollination is an essential ecosystem service for pollinator-dependent crops and plant communities. Apis mellifera L. is by far the most commonly used species to obtain this service in agriculture. However, there is growing evidence of the importance for crop yields of the service provided by wild bees and non-bee insect pollinators. Establishing flower resources in agricultural landscapes is a management practice that can increase insect pollinator populations and improve crop yields. We established perennial native flower strips (NFS) in four avocado orchards in central Chile during autumn 2017. We monitored flower visitors and counted newly formed fruits in avocados near and far from NFS in spring 2019, to assess flower visitor groups, flower visitation rates and fruit numbers. Only A. mellifera visited avocado flowers within bees, whereas both the managed A. mellifera and wild bees were the main visitors to the NFS. NFS increased visitation rates to adjacent avocado of flies, and with a trend for the sum of all non-managed flower visitors (i.e. excluding A. mellifera). However, there were no differences in the rates of A. mellifera visitation to avocados near and far from NFS. Avocado fruit numbers were higher among avocados near NFS than among those farther away. This difference could be due to better pollination by the increased visits to avocado flowers by flies or other wild insects. Therefore, NFS could contribute to crop fruit number, as well as conservation of native flora, wild bees and non-bee pollinators on fruit farms in the "Central Chile" biodiversity hotspot.
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https://hal-agrocampus-ouest.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03577665
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 16, 2022 - 5:51:13 PM
Last modification on : Monday, April 11, 2022 - 9:46:35 AM

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Alejandra Muñoz, Manuel Plantegenest, Paul Amouroux, Tania Zaviezo. Native flower strips increase visitation by non-bee insects to avocado flowers and promote yield. Basic and Applied Ecology, Elsevier, 2021, 56, pp.369 - 378. ⟨10.1016/j.baae.2021.08.015⟩. ⟨hal-03577665⟩

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