The foraging behavior and pollinating efficacy of Osmia cornuta (Latreille) and Apis mellifera L. were studied in an orchard of ‘Delicious’ apple, Malus domestica Borkh, in northeastern Spain. Yields after one single visit were more than five times higher in flowers visited by O. cornuta than in those visited by A. mellifera nectar gatherers. This is attributed to the lower rate of stigma contact in A. mellifera visits, rather than to insufficient deposition of compatible pollen when the stigmas are contacted. A. mellifera pollen collectors had very high rates of stigma contact, but they were very scarce (3%) on ‘Delicious’ flowers despite the presence of abundant brood in their hives. One single visit per flower by O. cornuta produced commercial fruit set (27.4%) and fruit size (>70 mm diameter). Based on cell production, average number of trips required to provision a male and a female cell, and flower visiting rates, it is estimated that a mean of 22,252 apple flower visits per female O. cornuta were made during the 15-d flowering period. This result indicates that 530 nesting O. cornuta females per hectare are enough to provide adequate apple pollination.
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