Mango Pollination

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.

A pollinator exclusion bag used to eliminate the presence of insects to better understand the importance of arthropods to fruit set.
Photo credit: Matthew Quenaudon

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.

 

Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Camponotus floridanus. A Florida carpenter ant actively foraging during the daylight for sweet floral nectars. This is one of the few ant species observed on mango.
Photo credit: Matthew Quenaudon
Diptera: Calliphoridae: Lucilia: A blowfly, distinguishable by its metallic color, absent postscutellum, and prominent calypters. The larvae feed on decaying animals, the adults are actively seen feeding on nectar as a source of energy.
Photo credit: Matthew Quenaudon
Diptera: Syrphidae: Palpada mexicana Syrphid flies, commonly called hover flies. Often mistaken as being dangerous due to their mimicry of wasps and bees yet do not sting. These insects play an important role in pest control as a larva and pollination as adults. While researching insects involved with mango pollination, this fly is quite prevalent and potentially an important pollinator of mangoes in the South Florida region. Minimal pollen deposition rates and differences in environmental conditions leads to differentiating insect importance.
Photo credit: Matthew Quenaudon
The green lacewing, a delicate flier with lacy membranous wings and golden compound eyes. As adults, they can be seen fluttering on flowers for pollen during the day. Also, they are attracted to lights in the evening light. The larvae are particularly important as a biocontrol for pest insects and can be purchased commercially for release. This genus is distinguishable by the reddish colored pigment near the antennal scale.
Photo credit: Matthew Quenaudon
Diptera: Chloropidae: Liohippelates. Eye gnats, although non-biting, are considered pests due to their annoyance to gather near the orifices of animals or people trying to obtain moisture. Perhaps a pest to some, these insects are quite abundant on mangoes and are potentially an important pollinator.
Photo credit: Matthew Quenaudon
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Posted: June 21, 2018


Category: Agriculture, Crops, Farm Management, Fruits & Vegetables, Horticulture, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Research
Tags: Entomology, Mangoes, Tropical Research And Education Center


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November 5, 2021

Thank you for continuing to educate us in your field of expertise

Josephine
November 5, 2021

Thank you Lisa, your commentary is very much appreciated.

Lisa
November 5, 2021

Thank you for your work. ❤️ This is very well written and easy for anyone to understand.

Brad Buck

July 27, 2021

Kenneth, I am copying Dr. Alan Chambers, the lead scientist on this research. He can help your comment/question. Alan, his comment was on the TREC blogs. Please reply. Kenneth is copied. This is interesting news. Is there any way of contacting Mr, Chambers directly. I am from Barbados in the Caribbean and am looking for a niche market product to grow on island. Thanks, bradbuck[at]ufl[dot]edu

TREC SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM

July 23, 2021

Hi Alicia. Before you cut down your tree, you should notify FDACS-Division of Plant Industry (DPI) at 1-888-397-1517 and Jeff Wasielewski, Commercial Tropical Fruit Crops Agent, UF-IFAS Extension Miami-Dade County at 305-679-0227.

Alicia
July 5, 2021

Based on the information and photos, my smaller lychee tree definitely has LEM. I’m a private homeowner, not a commercial grower. Should I contact the county and report this? The infestation is extensive and on 2/3 of the branches. Unfortunately, it seems my only recourse is to cut it down so it does not spread to my other tree.

Kenneth Erik Nilsen
June 28, 2021

I have read articles on new varieties of Vanilla plants being worked on by scientist Alan Chambers. This is interesting news. Is there any way of contacting Mr, Chambers directly. I am from Barbados in the Caribbean and am looking for a niche market product to grow on island.

Kenneth Erik Nilsen
June 28, 2021

I have read articles on new varieties of Vanilla plants being worked on by scientist Alan Chambers. This is interesting new. Is there any way of contacting Mr, Chambers directly. I am from Barbados in the Caribbean and am looking for a niche market product to grow on island.

TREC SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM

May 14, 2021

Hi Al. Dr. Carrillo has requested you bring a sample to the Florida Extension Plant Diagnostic Clinic for further analysis. The Clinic is located at our campus, 18905 SW 280 Street, Homestead, Florida 33031. You can review the Clinic's website here: https://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/plantdiagnosticclinic/.

Al
May 3, 2021

I have very tiny black insects, less than a cm long living on my litchee tree. They’re so tiny that’s it’s difficult to see them individually with the naked eye. They live in patches on the trunk. The patches, for lack of better description, look like black under arm hair. When disturbed they do not fly but continues to regroup like a herd. Are they harmful to my tree?

TREC SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM

March 29, 2021

Hi Chan. Thank you for your inquiry. Dr. Carrillo has requested you visit this website for the most up to date information: https://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/Lychee-Erinose-Mite/. Thank you.

TREC SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM

March 22, 2021

Thank you for your interest! The only document that we have available at this time is Matthew Quenaudon's master's thesis. You can find it here: https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0054534/00001.

Chan
March 14, 2021

I have only just seen this on my lychee trees and the leaves are dying. It's spreading to other branches. My tree has only just started flowering. How do I get rid of this to avoid it taking over my entire tree? I have a younger one that's flowering for the first time and want to protect these so badly. Waited more than 10 years for the older one to flower. Help

Michael Bausher
February 23, 2021

Has this work been published? If so could you please provide a citation. Thank you

TREC SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM

September 24, 2018

It is recommended that all infested branches are cut and burn before any acaricide treatment. Pruning is the most important cultural practice against the LEM and the most efficient way to remove infestations. After pruning, removing and destroying infested branches, acaricides can be used to protect new leaf flushes as they emerge and develop. Sprays applied directly to infested leaves and branches provide poor control because of the protection provided to the mites by the erineum. Among the acaricides registered for use in lychee in Florida, the only conventional pesticide registered acaracide proven to work against LEM in other parts of the world is Agri-Mek (abamectin). Agri-Mek is a restricted use pesticide (you must have a pesticide license to use this material) and has a restriction of a maximum two applications per year on lychee. Of the other insecticides known to have activity against LEM, azadirachtin, which is extracted from neem oil provides suboptimal control of this mite. Azadirachtin is labeled for use on lychee and can be used as an alternative acaricide while additional insecticides are being explored. Azadirachtin brand names include Aza-Direct, AzaGuard, Azatrol EC, and Trilogy. Although wettable sulfur has also proven efficacious against this mite, it is not registered for use on lychee at this time. Detailed control recommendations are available at: https://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/Lychee-Erinose-Mite/.

Thomas Pritchard
September 7, 2018

What can be sprayed on the tree to kill the invader ??

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