Wild bees increase tomato pollination
there was a conversation sometime back about tomato pollination and that pollinators for tomato was unneeded outdoors. However, only recently are some aspects of pollination ecology coming to light. Check out this study:
Wild bee species increase tomato production and respond differently to surrounding land use in Northern California
Biological Conservation, Volume 133, Issue 1, November 2006, Pages 81-87
Sarah S. Greenleaf and Claire Kremen
More and more, researchers are increasing our understanding of the importance of wild populations of pollinating insects. Dr. Claire Kremen and Dr Sarah Greenleaf have done a great deal of work in this area.
Pollination provided by bees enhances the production of many crops. However, the contribution of wild bees remains unmeasured for many crops, and the effects of anthropogenic change on many bee species are unstudied. We experimentally investigated how pollination by wild bees affects tomato production in northern California. We found that wild bees substantially increase the production of field-grown tomato, a crop generally considered self-pollinating. Surveys of the bee community on 14 organic fields that varied in proximity to natural habitat showed that the primary bee visitors, Anthophora urbana Cresson and Bombus vosnesenskii Radoszkowski, were affected differently by land management practices. B. vosnesenskii was found primarily on farms proximate to natural habitats, but neither proximity to natural habitat nor tomato floral abundance, temperature, or year explained variation in the visitation rates of A. urbana. Natural habitat appears to increase B. vosnesenskii populations and should be preserved near farms. Additional research is needed to determine how to maintain A. urbana. Species-specific differences in dependency on natural habitats underscore the importance of considering the natural histories of individual bee species when projecting population trends of pollinators and designing management plans for pollination services. Thus, to maintain an entire bee community, multiple approaches, including maintaining natural habitat, should be implemented.
Dr. Claire Kremen
Dr Sarah Greenleaf
Size does matter - Bee pollination of tomoatoes
Isn't this also a case of "Size does matter" when it comes to tomatoes? I had been under the impression that a honeybee's probiscus (closest thing they have to a tongue) was too short to work tomato blossoms, and that bumblebees or some other large bee would in omst cases be required for pollination of a blossom this deep.
I openly welcome objective calibration if this was in error...