Pollinator efficiency of avocado (Persea americana) flower insect visitors.
Pollination services from insects are important for higher yield and better fruit quality in avocado (Persea americana Mill.). Measuring pollinator effectiveness is significant for capturing the relative contributions of different insect taxa to pollination services and for identification of the most important pollinators of this globally important crop. In the present study, we tested pollinator efficiency of avocado in Kenya based on pollen deposition after single visits of flowers by different pollinator species and visitation frequency.We monitored the pollination frequency during the flowering period replicated across six farms. Three trees were selected per farm, each with five flower panicles. Out of the 14 observed insect flower visitor species, pollen deposition efficiency was highest in the Western honey bee (Apis mellifera L.), followed by the hover fly species (Phytomia incisa W.). These two species had both the highest pollen deposition and pollen grain loads on their bodies. Furthermore, A. mellifera was the most frequent avocado flower visitor followed by Diptera except hoverflies. Our results imply that A. mellifera can be managed to achieve adequate pollination services for avocado, particularly in areas lacking efficient wild pollinators.