The application of azadirachtin to foliage of cantaloupes did not significantly reduce successful pollination by commercially managed honey bees, Apis mellifera L., as measured by numbers of foraging honey bees and yield. Similar results were obtained when the synthetic insecticide imidacloprid (used as a standard by cantaloupe growers) was applied to the soil. Fruit yield and quality, as a function of bee pollination, were statistically equal between the two treatments, and equal to that of the untreated control. The standard treatment of imidacloprid gave significantly better control than azadirachtin of one pest (cucumber beetle) early in the season. Fruit maturity was delayed in untreated plots, consistent with light insect pressure observed. These results indicate that an organically based insect control approach will not alter bloom acceptance and bee forager activity in cantaloupes.
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Vol. 97 • No. 5