The ineffectiveness of the stingless bee Trigona jaty (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponinae) as a pollinator of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.).
In a cocoa plantation in Costa Rica, T. jaty was a common visitor to the flowers; on 70% of observed visits, the bees collected pollen. However, fruit set on the plants was only 1.3%; on 4 trees caged with T. jaty results were similar. When collecting pollen, this bee does not contact the stigma directly, and therefore does not achieve pollination. It is suggested that a high density of T. jaty on cocoa flowers reduced the effectiveness of small insect pollinators. As the bees prefer to forage in the sun, the provision of shade might decrease bee density. Another promising possibility is the peripheral planting of forage preferred by the bees, such as Schistocarpha oppositifolia. P. Walker