Increase in Soybean (Glycine max) Production Using Honey Bees (Apis mellifera)

  • Estela Santos Sección Etología, Facultad de Ciencias. Iguá 4225, Montevideo ,11400, Uruguay
  • Yamandú Mendoza Laboratorio de Apicultura, Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria. Ruta 11 km, Colonia, 70000, Uruguay.
  • Máximo Vera Laboratorio de Apicultura, Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria. Ruta 11 km, Colonia, 70000, Uruguay.
  • Leonidas Carrasco-Letelier Programa Nacional de Producción y Sustentabilidad Ambiental, Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria, Ruta 11 km, Colonia, 70000, Uruguay
  • Sebastián Díaz Laboratorio de Apicultura, Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria. Ruta 11 km, Colonia, 70000, Uruguay
  • Ciro Invernizzi Sección Etología, Facultad de Ciencias. Iguá 4225, Montevideo ,11400, Uruguay
Keywords: beekeeping, pollination, pollen, honey, Uruguay

Abstract

In Uruguay, the sustained increase of soybean (Glycine max) crop in recent years has harmed the bee industry because it displaced other crops such as forage legumes. Although soybean is a self-pollinating species, some studies indicate that seed production can be increased by insect pollinators, especially honey bees (Apis mellifera). The aim of this study was to determine whether honey bees and other insects increase seed production in conventional soybean. To do it, an apiary of 10 hives was set in a plot of 120 ha of soybean. We recorded the presence of bees and other insects at different distances from the apiary and seed production was evaluated at 200 and 500 m. In the hives, we determined the botanical origin of nectar and pollen collected by bees. The principal results were: 1) bees were not distributed in the crop following a gradient with distance from the apiary. 2) bees collected nectar and pollen from flowers of soybean, although the plant provides more nectar than pollen. 3) seed production increased significantly by 25% at 500 m of the apiary, but not at 200 m. This difference could be due to different concentrations of nitrogen and potassium in the soil. This study shows that soybean production can be increased in the presence of honeybees opening a perspective for the complementation of soybean production and beekeeping.

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Published
2021-01-27
How to Cite
1.
Santos E, Mendoza Y, Vera M, Carrasco-Letelier L, Díaz S, Invernizzi C. Increase in Soybean (Glycine max) Production Using Honey Bees (Apis mellifera). Agrociencia Uruguay [Internet]. 27Jan.2021 [cited 15Aug.2022];17(1):81-90. Available from: http://agrocienciauruguay.uy/ojs/index.php/agrociencia/article/view/518
Section
Plant production