Pollination and plant protection in seed production of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.)

Ptacek, V.; Rotrekl, J.

Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on the Harmonization of Methods for Testing the Toxicity of Pesticides to Bees, May 15-18, 1990, Rez near Prague, Czechoslovakia: 125-130


Accession: 002188253

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In the early 1980s, pollination of lucerne (Medicago sativa) grown for seed in Czechoslovakia depended on honeybees, but prohibition of the movement of colonies (an anti-Varroa measure) meant that not enough colonies were available in the area where lucerne crops were concentrated. A method for rearing and using the solitary bee Rhophitoides canus for pollination, which involves leaving strips of bare soil in the crop as nesting sites, was devised. Strips of the crop are left untouched when the first cut is taken to act as sources of food for the bees. The second, seed-producing cut coincides with the maximum flight activity of R. canus. Pest control between the first and second cuts is carried out only if pest populations are above the economic threshold. Chemicals which are relatively harmless to bees are used and are applied at times of day when few pollinating insects are on the crop. In the period to the end of flowering of the second cut further pesticide applications may be carried out if precautions are taken. Actellic (pirimiphos-methyl) and Zolone (phosalone) are relatively harmless to the bees and various pyrethroid formulations are now being tested.