Relative abundance and movement of flower visitors within ‘Black Doris’ plum orchards in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Keywords:plums, honey bees, bumble bees, flies, pollination
The Japanese plum ‘Black Doris’ (Prunus salicina) is a self-infertile early-flowering crop so insufficient cross pollination and lack of pollinators could be factors to explain reported poor fruit set. This project assessed the relative abundance of flower visitors within a plum orchard and their movements among three orchards, as part of a wider study on plum pollination. Insect surveys conducted over three days across one orchard in 2014 identified a total of 479 individual pollinators. Honey bees represented 94.6% of all pollinators observed. To assess pollinator movement across the crop, 140 individual flower visitors were followed over a five-day period in 2014 and again in 2015 across three orchards. Bumble bees moved further within the orchard and visited more trees per minute than foraging honey bees, while silvereyes visited more than twice as many flowers per minute than any other insect flower visitor.