Research Focus

The project supported countries with installation of greenhouses to demonstrate the benefits of bee pollination. Greenhouses were supplied to Kenya (6), Ethiopia (5) and 4 greenhouses each in Cameroon, Liberia, and Burkina Faso. Training, planting crops, and imparting bee pollination strategies were completed in Ethiopia, Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Kenya. In Cameroon, the training and installation of greenhouses was delayed because of late signing of the MOU, and will be completed in 2016. Honeybees and stingless bee colonies were placed outside the greenhouses, and carpenter bees were released inside the greenhouses for pollination of various horticultural and agricultural crops.   Fruit harvests after the pollination services of crops in the greenhouses were realized in Kenya and Ethiopia. The crops planted were tomatoes, cucumber, and melon, eggplant, and green peppers. In subsequent years, farmers will receive training in planting a variety of beans, lentils, strawberry, onion, and more, in all project countries.

Pollination trials of cucumber, sweet melon, and tomato in greenhouses through hand pollination, stingless bee species, honey bees and self-pollination were conducted. Strawberry French beans, and mixed crops of vegetables are next, to evaluate the efficacy of pollination services by bees. Cucumber had a higher number of flowers pollinated by the stingless bee M. bocandei compared to other pollinators

Polllination

Mean fruit weight and set in greenhouse cucumber pollinated by hand and using Meliponula bocandei, Dactylurina schimdti, Apis mellifera scutellata (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in season one (a) and season two (b)

 

For the other crops (sweet melon, tomatoes) data are being analysed to show the percentage increase of each crop with different bee species. Two papers have been written and submitted:

  • Enhancement of fruit quality in greenhouse sweet melon pollinated using Dactylurina schimdti, M. ferruginea, Apis mellifera scutellata (Hymenoptera: Apidae), and hand pollination.
  • Enhancement of fruit quality in greenhouse tomatoes pollinated using Apis mellifera scutellata (Hymenoptera: Apidae), self-pollination, and hand pollination

Jointly with a German university, we studied the olfactory associative learning behaviour in two African stingless bee species (Meliponula ferruginea and M. bocandei) that are good honey producers. The study showed that the two species could associate food resources to odours while foraging

Polllination2

Percentage of bee species responding with PER to conditioning stimuli