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Psyche
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 927463, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/927463
Review Article

Large Carpenter Bees as Agricultural Pollinators

Department of Science Education—Biology, University of Haifa, Oranim, Tivon 36006, Israel

Received 12 September 2009; Accepted 9 January 2010

Academic Editor: Claus Rasmussen

Copyright © 2010 Tamar Keasar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Large carpenter bees (genus Xylocopa) are wood-nesting generalist pollinators of broad geographical distribution that exhibit varying levels of sociality. Their foraging is characterized by a wide range of food plants, long season of activity, tolerance of high temperatures, and activity under low illumination levels. These traits make them attractive candidates for agricultural pollination in hot climates, particularly in greenhouses, and of night-blooming crops. Carpenter bees have demonstrated efficient pollination service in passionflower, blueberries, greenhouse tomatoes and greenhouse melons. Current challenges to the commercialization of these attempts lie in the difficulties of mass-rearing Xylocopa, and in the high levels of nectar robbing exhibited by the bees.