Pollination for Watermelons
Bees play a vital role in our ecosystem.
They also pay a vital role in the pollination of watermelons – both for plant yields and to ensure the melons are healthy, sweet tasting and a good shape.
Watermelon, rockmelon and honeydew melon are all dependent on insect pollinators to help produce the high quality, large fruits.
On a watermelon, each variety produces separate male and female flowers on one plant. Pollinators, or in this case, bees, are needed to transfer pollen from the male to female flowers for fruit to be produced.
Watermelon flowers open in the early morning hours and close in the afternoon. The weather also plays a part in a good pollination of the watermelon flowers as if it is grey and rainy weather on the days the flowers are open, the bees won’t be as active in the field. This causes lower yields and the fruit won’t be as sweet.
With Rockmelon and Honeydew varieties, each vine contains a mix of male flowers and fruit-producing flowers. They flowers don’t need other plants to cross-pollinate, but they do need pollinators, such as bees, to dislodge the pollen and move it onto the stigma for seed set and fruit development. Flowers that are cross-pollinated have been shown to produce heavier fruit than those pollinated from flowers on the same plant.
Good pollination is a result of a few different factors:
Weather – The weather plays a key part in a good pollination of the watermelon flowers as if it is grey and rainy weather on the days the flowers are open, the bees won’t be as active in the field. This causes lower yields and the fruit won’t be as sweet.
Health of the Bees – it requires careful management of the hives to ensure the hives are healthy.
Land Management – some bees will visit other preferred crops or plants if they are also in flower on the same block.
Fieldco has their own bees and hives [pictured] that are managed by Denver, one of our Field Team leaders. This gives us greater control on our pollination rates and ensures our melon fields are healthy and thriving.