HONEY BEE CONTRIBUTION TO ‘BORDÔ’ GRAPEVINE FRUIT PRODUCTION IN SOUTHERN BRAZIL

<div><p>ABSTRACT The production of fruits and seeds of many crops is increased when bees visit their flowers pollinating them. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of different pollination treatments on ‘Bordô’ grapevine (Vitis labrusca L.) fruit quantity and quality. Quantitative and qualitative fruit production parameters of plants visited by Apis mellifera L., manually self- and cross-pollinated plants and plants without pollination were analyzed and compared. Fruit production was high for all treatments and all fruits presented four seeds per fruit, on average, confirming that this grape cultivar is autogamous. However, fruit set after spontaneous self-pollination was statistically lower than that of all other treatments, and pollination by A. mellifera showed the highest fruit production. Furthermore, pollination by honey bees resulted in increased biomass, reflected on fruit weight, but the content of soluble solids remained unchanged. The results of this study showed that there is no need of pollinators for fruit production of ‘Bordô’ cv., but the presence of these agents, in particular Apis mellifera, influences commercially important quality parameters such as fruit yield and fresh weight. Therefore, the use of bee hives in areas with deficit of pollinating insects may promote an improvement in yield and quality of this cultivar.</p></div>