The Impact of Arthropods on Pollination and Fruit Set of Keitt Mangoes
National Pollinator Week is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what we can do to protect them. The Tropical Fruit Entomology lab at TREC UF/IFAS has ongoing research on mangoes pollination.
Upon anthesis, wind and insects play an important role in the pollination of mangoes. The exact species of insects, however, is unexplored, and there is no connection between specific insects and the amount of pollen transported.
In response to these issues, Matthew Quenaudon, a student at TREC UF/IFAS pursuing a Masters in Entomology, is working on different experiments constructed to investigate key insect families and species and the extent to which excluding arthropods affect mango pollination. The experiments dealt with signifying the most frequent visitors, determining the duration and interaction of insects with the flower structures, and excluding arthropods through mesh bagging.
Through these experiments, Matthew expects to provide a better understanding of the insects involved with ‘Keitt’ mango pollination, fruit set, and production in the Miami-Dade agricultural area. Increasing knowledge of the insects most associated with mango may provide a way for growers to increase their yield and fruit quality through means of increase pollination. If a few insects are highly associated with pollen distribution amongst mangoes, the same kind of study can be used with various tropical fruit production in the Miami-Date area. This type of information can be spread amongst growers with a focus on increasing these essential insects by reducing pesticide usage, allowing for natural plants and flowers to take hold throughout groves, and for farmers to be more aware of what insects are playing an important role amongst their crop.