Pollination is an essential step in the seed production of canola, Brassica napus L. It is achieved with the assistance of various pollen vectors, but particularly by the honey bee, Apis mellifera L. Although the importance of pollination has been shown for the production of seed crops, the need to introduce bee hives in canola fields during flowering to increase oil seed yield has not yet been proven. With the purpose of showing this, hives of A. mellifera were grouped and placed in various canola fields in the Chaudière-Appalaches and Capitale-Nationale regions (nine fields; three blocks with three treatments; 0, 1.5, and 3 hives per hectare). A cage was used to exclude pollinators and bee visitations were observed in each field. After the harvest, yield analyses were done in relation to the bee density gradient created, by using pod set, number of seeds per plant, and weight of 1000 seeds. Results showed an improvement in seed yield of 46% in the presence of three honey bee hives per hectare, compared with the absence of hives. The introduction of honey bees contributed to production and consequently, these pollinators represented a beneficial and important pollen vector for the optimal yield of canola.
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Vol. 98 • No. 2