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Original research (Published On: 25-Jun-2019)

Avocado (Persea americana) floral calendar and diurnal visitation rates of its pollinators in Murang’a, Kenya

Joseph Mutunga Mulwa, Ruth Kahuthia Gathu, Nyamai Matolo, Mary Mwari Guantai and John Muo Kasina

J. Agri. Res. Adv., 01 (02):23-27

Joseph Mutunga Mulwa: Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Kenya

Ruth Kahuthia Gathu: Department of Agricultural Science and Technology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya

Nyamai Matolo: Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Nairobi, Kenya

Mary Mwari Guantai: Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Nairobi, Kenya

John Muo Kasina: Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Nairobi, Kenya

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Article History: Received on: 26-Mar-19, Accepted on: 22-Jun-19, Published on: 25-Jun-19

Corresponding Author: Joseph Mutunga Mulwa

Email: josemulwa0009@gmail.com

Citation: Mulwa JM, Gathu RK, Matolo N, Guantai MM and Kasina JM (2019). Avocado (Persea americana) floral calendar and diurnal visitation rates of its pollinators in Murang’a, Kenya. J. Agri. Res. Adv., 01 (02):23-27


Abstract

Aim: This study was carried out to determine the avocado floral calendar and the diurnal visitation rates of its insect pollinators in farmers’ fields in Murang’a County, Kenya.

Method and Materials: Investigations were done in twelve farms and in each farm, five mature avocado trees were randomly selected maintaining a minimum distance of about 10 m and 200 m from tree to tree and farm to farm, respectively. Data were collected for three blooming seasons (August-September 2015; April-May 2016 and August- September 2016). Data included the percentage flushing, flower buds, flowering, fruiting, flower visitors’ identity, time of the day and time (seconds) taken by an individual on the flower per visit. Additionally, the number of male and female flowers was recorded. Observations were done only under good weather conditions between 0900-1700 h.

Results: Two avocado flowering seasons in a year were recorded; one from August to October and the other from February to May with March and September as the peak blooming months. Female phase flowers were recorded between 0900-1659 h while male phase flowers appeared between 1200-1759 h registering an overlap from 1200-1659 h, peaking between 1300- 1359 h. Honey bees, blow flies, hoverflies and wasps were the major avocado flower visitors. All avocado flower visitors were observed during the daily overlapping period of the male and female phase flowers.

Conclusion: The study confirms that insects are important avocado pollinators and their management is paramount for improved yields.


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