by Perera and Karunaratne
The wild bee, Lithurgus atratus collecting
large yellow pollen grains on anthers of anokra flower.
Bees are declining in a fast rate due to various natural and human induced reasons. Therefore, bee pollinated crops suffer from insufficient pollination that leads to the production of low yield, low quality fruits and seeds.Sri Lanka is a home for 150 species of wild bees. However, their contribution to pollinate crops is not well understood. Previous researchers have found out that there are crops that need specialized bees to collect any carry its flowers’ special pollen grains. Okra/ladies fingers (Abelmoschus esculentus) of the family Malvaceae is known to produce large spiny pollen grains carried by a group of special bees. However, no attempt has been made in Sri Lanka to investigate the effect of wild bees to pollinate okra, which is a widely grown vegetable crop in the country. Therefore, we investigated the contribution of the wild bees in Sri Lanka for the production of okra compared to hand pollination and when bees are absent.