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Revista Colombiana de Ciencias Hortícolas

Print version ISSN 2011-2173


RIANO J., DIEGO; PACATEQUE E., JOHANNA; CURE, JOSE RICARDO  and  RODRIGUEZ, DANIEL. Pollination behavior and efficiency of Bombus atratus Franklin in sweet peppers (Capsicum annum L.) grown in a greenhouse. rev.colomb.cienc.hortic. [online]. 2015, vol.9, n.2, pp.259-267. ISSN 2011-2173.

Sweet pepper is a promising crop for Colombia, but it is a low-tech crop. Crop pollination using bumblebees is a technique that has been successfully used in different crops worldwide, but, for our country, little is known about this practice. For Colombia, Bombus atratus Franklin is a promising pollinator of horticultural crops, such as tomatoes. This study established the pollination behavior and efficiency of B. atratus in sweet peppers. Three colonies were placed in a crop with an area of 1,500 m2, located in Sachica, Boyaca. The floral phenology was characterized with a morphometric analysis of the reproductive structures of the flowers (anther, filament and style length), stigma receptivity and nectar volume. Additionally, the foraging behavior of the workers was characterized with direct observations and the effect of the pollination on the fruit quality (size, fruit dry weight and number of seeds) in three strata of the plants. Three floral stages were determined (Open Flower 1, 2 and 3), differentiated by the morphometric analyses, nectar production and stigma receptivity. The workers showed two types of visits: short (12.34±5.77 seconds) and long (82.8±11.14seconds). Additionally, the workers had a tendency to visit Open Flower 2, in which the greatest production of nectar and highest stigma receptivity were seen. Pollination using B. atratus workers had an effect on the evaluated variables, with an increase of more than 40%. These results indicate that B. atratus is an efficient pollinator of sweet pepper crops.

Keywords : bumblebee; crops; native; pollinator; productivity.

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