21 December, 2019

Insect pollinators of conference pear and their contribution to fruit quality

By Fountain et al.

The main pear variety grown in the UK is Conference, however not all fruit is harvested because around 6% are misshapen and unmarketable. This study aimed to identify the main pollinating insects of pear and investigate the contribution they make to pear quality. We also investigated cross pollinating Conference with other varieties to improve pear shape. A wide range of insects, more than 30 species, visited pear flowers including honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies resulting in 10% higher fruit set. Cross pollination of Conference with the variety Concorde also produced better quality fruits. We discuss how pollination of Conference pears could be managed to improve yield of marketable fruit and hence reduce waste.

Read the scientific publication in JPE.