Insect visitors to avocado flowers in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Keywords:insect pollinators, pollinator diversity, pollination abundance, diurnal patterns, honey bee, survey, avocado pollination, flower visitor abundance, Persea americana
Insect pollination is key to ensuring adequate fruit yields within avocado orchards. Various bee and non-bee insect species have been considered as potential pollinators of avocado worldwide, but in New Zealand there has been little research into which insect species visit avocado flowers. In the Bay of Plenty, an important avocado production area, flower visitor abundance and diversity data were obtained by conducting observational surveys in four orchards in November 2015. Honey bees were the dominant flower visitors in all orchards surveyed, representing 92.9% of all insects recorded, but there was high variation in numbers among sites. Other common insects observed included the beetle, Zorion guttigerum (3.4%), and bumblebees Bombus spp. (1.6%). A better understanding of the interaction between honey bee stocking rates and flower visitor abundances within orchards could assist in improving pollination recommendations.