We identified native bees that are floral visitors and potential pollinators of tomato in Cerrado areas, described the foraging behavior of these species, and verified the influence of the visitation of a solitary bee on the quantity and quality of fruits. Three areas of tomato crops, located in Minas Gerais, Brazil, were sampled between March and November 2012. We collected 185 bees belonging to 13 species. Exomalopsis (Exomalopsis) analis Spinola, 1853 (Hymenoptera: Apidae) was the most abundant. Ten species performed buzz pollination. Apis mellifera L. 1758 (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Paratrigona lineata (Lepeletier, 1836) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) could also act as pollinators. The fruit set and number of seeds obtained from the pollination treatment by E. analis were higher than those in the control group. Our results allowed the identification of potential tomato pollinators in Cerrado areas and also contributed information regarding the impact of a single species (E. analis) on fruit set and quality. Although most of the visiting bees show the ability for tomato pollination, there is an absence of adequate management techniques, and its usage is difficult with the aim of increasing the crop production, which is the case for E. analis. Species such as Melipona quinquefasciata, P. lineata, and A. mellifera, which are easy to handle, are not used for pollination services. Finally, it is suggested that a combination of different bee species that are able to pollinate the tomato is necessary to prevent the super-exploitation of only a single species for pollination services and to guarantee the occurrence of potential pollinators in the crop area.
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Vol. 107 • No. 3