Pg. 31-32 Pollination and Fruit-Set in Bengal Litchi During the 1993 Flowering Season at Politsi: Second Report

Honeybee foraging activity in a litchi orchard was monitored by investigating returning foragers for nectar, water, pollen and bee-glue. At commencement of flowering, 24 beehives were introduced into a 10 ha orchard. Honeybee foragers remained active on litchi blossoms throughout the day as well as during the entire flowering period. Nectar foraging was highest in the morning, while pollen foraging reached a peak at noon. Honeybees also collected pollen from black-jack, dandelion, blue weed, silky oak, pecan nut, avocado and blue-gum in or around the litchi orchard. Water was collected mainly in the afternoon. Fruit-set was studied in a second experiment where 200 panicles were marked on 10 trees and left open. A second set of 300 panicles on 15 trees was bagged with 1 mm2 gauze to exclude insects. A mean set of six fruits (range 0 -26) per open-pollinated panicle was recorded, compared to less than two fruits per bagged panicle. The mean weight per fruit was 14 g for open panicles.

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