Ventilation of greenhouses increases honey bee foraging activity on melon, Cucumis melo
A Dag; D Eisikowitch
Melons are grown in Israel in ‘walk-through' tunnel greenhouses. We compared honey bee (Apis mellifera) foraging activity and melon nectar characteristics in well-ventilated and in closed greenhouses. Foraging activity in the open greenhouses was two- to five-fold greater than that in the closed greenhouses. This higher activity could be explained by higher flower attractivity due to a higher nectar sugar concentration both in hermaphroditic flowers and male flowers. The higher sugar concentration in the open, ventilated greenhouses was probably as a result of the relatively lower humidity there. The greater foraging activity in the open greenhouses also may have been due to lower air temperatures and better accessibility for the bees. It seems that greenhouse ventilation can improve honey bee pollination activity in melon and probably other greenhouse crops as well.