The European domestic bee or honey bee (Apis mellifera) is not an optimal pollinator for avocados, and this can be one of the main problems when it comes to getting avocado crops to yield the best results in Spain, as explained by Iñaki Horaza, head researcher at the Institute of Subtropical and Mediterranean Horticulture (IHSM) La Mayora.
Hormaza has participated in a conference on avocado pollination, organized by the Association of Young Agricultural Producers (Asaja) in Malaga, and held in the experimental station of La Mayora, in the municipality of Algarrobo.
The researcher of the center, which is run by the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the University of Malaga, said that this meeting, attended by a hundred producers, has made it possible to outline the work that has been carried out in recent years in the field of avocado pollination.
Studies have been presented on the characteristics, efficiency and conditions of possible pollinating insects, describing the measures that should be adopted in order to increase their presence.
Hormaza has chosen to work in the field of pollinating insects to fight what is currently "the main limitation to the production" of this subtropical crop.
The head for Fruits and Vegetables at Asaja Málaga, Benjamín Faulí, said that during the flowering period of avocados, a great number of insects are present in Andalusia's Mediterranean coast which could act as potential pollinators.
This is something that, according to Faulí, has been revealed by the latest published works on the issue, as well as by the fieldwork of the growers themselves, making it possible to confirm that the domestic bee is not an optimal pollinator for avocados.
He said that the project's objective is to find out what pollinators could help improve the fruit setting, and has highlighted the opportunity for growers to collaborate in these CSIC research with pollination specialists.
The representative of Asaja pointed out that in the case of Malaga, field work has been carried out in the past year which will result in "greater profitability for avocado growers, as the spread of native and environmentally-friendly pollinators, sustainable in the long and medium term, is a clear advantage."