• Performance assessment of honey bee on pollination of onion flower (Allium cepa L.)

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  • 01/04/2016

This BSc. thesis was completed by Rubina Fatima Smritee at the Department of Botany at the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.


Onion is one of the most common and important spice crop of Bangladesh and an integral part of the Bangladeshi diet. Insect pollination is necessary for this cross pollinated crop, especially in the case of hybrid seed production. The role of managed honey bee has widely been documented but also native pollinators contribute to the production of maximum yields.

The objective of this experiment was to study the diversity of the most frequent pollinators of onion and to explore their pollination effectiveness with the perspective of conserving and managing the most efficient pollinators.

An experiment was conducted on farms participating in SAF-BIN project in Baraigram (Natore district), Paba (Rajshahi district) and Patnitala (Naogaon district). The local onion variety Taherpur[1]i was used. The treatments were T1: Honey bee pollination and T2: Natural pollination (=control). The treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Data on onion seed and bulb yield (kg/ha) was recorded and a survey was conducted.

Onion seed yield varied widely between locations: Paba: 12-18kg/ha; Patnitala: 4.2-9 kg/ha and Baraigram: 1.2-2kg/ha. Bulb yield similarly varied significantly: Paba: 35-45kg/ha; Patnirala: 12-50kg/ha and Baraigram: 60-80kg/ha. Comparing the treatments, honey bee pollination performed better for seeds/umble (75.67) and seed yield (200 kg/ha) than natural pollination. Results of the survey show that farmers are interested in using honey bee boxes in their onion fields as they observe better productivity of the crop and an additional benefit through honey as byproduct.

This leads to the conclusion that Baraigram is the most favourable environment for onion production with Taherpuri onion. The use of honey bee boxes has a positive impact on onion yield and has additional benefits for the farmers.

[1] Taherpuri onion: plant height 30-60 cm; pseudo-stem branches: 1-5; number of leaves: 6 – 15; bulbs: deep pink colour; weight/bulb: 25-60g.