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Towards precision apiculture: traditional and technological insect monitoring methods in strawberry and raspberry crop polytunnels tell different pollination stories

Howard, Scarlett R, Ratnayake, Malika N, Dyer, Adrian G, Garcia, Jair E and Dorin, Alan 2021, Towards precision apiculture: traditional and technological insect monitoring methods in strawberry and raspberry crop polytunnels tell different pollination stories, PLoS one, vol. 16, no. 5, pp. 1-17, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0251572.

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Title Towards precision apiculture: traditional and technological insect monitoring methods in strawberry and raspberry crop polytunnels tell different pollination stories
Author(s) Howard, Scarlett RORCID iD for Howard, Scarlett R orcid.org/0000-0002-1895-5409
Ratnayake, Malika N
Dyer, Adrian G
Garcia, Jair E
Dorin, Alan
Journal name PLoS one
Volume number 16
Issue number 5
Article ID e0251572
Start page 1
End page 17
Total pages 17
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2021-05-14
ISSN 1932-6203
1932-6203
Keyword(s) insects
honey bees
crops
weeds
pollination
flowers
farms
computer software
Summary Over one third of crops are animal pollinated, with insects being the largest group. In some crops, including strawberries, fruit yield, weight, quality, aesthetics and shelf life increase with insect pollination. Many crops are protected from extreme weather in polytunnels, but the impacts of polytunnels on insects are poorly understood. Polytunnels could reduce pollination services, especially if insects have access issues. Here we examine the distribution and activity of honeybees and non-honeybee wild insects on a commercial fruit farm. We evaluated whether insect distributions are impacted by flower type (strawberry; raspberry; weed), or distance from polytunnel edges. We compared passive pan-trapping and active quadrat observations to establish their suitability for monitoring insect distribution and behaviour on a farm. To understand the relative value of honeybees compared to other insects for strawberry pollination, the primary crop at the site, we enhanced our observations with video data analysed using insect tracking software to document the time spent by insects on flowers. The results show honeybees strongly prefer raspberry and weed flowers over strawberry flowers and that location within the polytunnel impacts insect distributions. Consistent with recent studies, we also show that pan-traps are ineffective to sample honeybee numbers. While the pan-traps and quadrat observations tend to suggest that investment in managed honeybees for strawberry pollination might be ineffective due to consistent low numbers within the crop, the camera data provides contrary evidence. Although honeybees were relatively scarce among strawberry crops, camera data shows they spent more time visiting flowers than other insects. Our results demonstrate that a commercial fruit farm is a complex ecosystem influencing pollinator diversity and abundance through a range of factors. We show that monitoring methods may differ in their valuation of relative contributions of insects to crop pollination.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0251572
Indigenous content off
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30151665

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.