Synthetic Nasonov gland pheromone enhances abundance and visitation of honeybee, Apis mellifera, in Korla fragrant pear, Pyrus sinkiangensis

Qian Li, Mengxiao Sun, Yangtian Liu, Bing Liu, Wopke van der Werf, Felix J.J.A. Bianchi*, Yanhui Lu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Korla fragrant pear (Pyrus sinkiangensis Yü) depends on cross-pollination by honeybees (Apis mellifera) but may suffer from low honeybee visitation. We assessed whether honeybee abundance and visitation frequency are enhanced by using synthetic Nasonov gland pheromone (NGP), which is naturally produced by worker bees to stimulate the aggregation of bees to food resources or nesting sites. The response of honeybees to synthetic NGP was firstly assessed using Y-tube olfactometer tests in the laboratory, and subsequently in the field, by placing NGP lures on Korla fragrant pear trees in orchards with and without beehives. Honeybee abundance was assessed using coloured pan traps while honeybee visits were assessed by visual observations on pear flowers. Y-tube olfactometer tests showed a significant preference of honeybees for NGP. In pear orchards with beehives, honeybee abundance was 2.5-fold higher on trees with NGP lures than on trees without NGP, and 2.2-fold higher in orchards in which all trees contained NGP lures than in orchards without NGP lures. Such positive effects were not observed in orchards without beehives. Flower visitation by honeybees was significantly higher in trees with NGP lures than without NGP lures, irrespective of the presence (5.7-fold higher) or absence of beehives (27.6-fold higher). In mixed pear-apricot orchards, honeybee abundance was higher in pear trees with NGP lures than without lures. Our results show that NGP lures attract honeybees to flowering pear trees in monoculture pear and mixed pear-apricot orchards, and that this effect is greatest in orchards with beehives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalAgricultural and Forest Entomology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jan 2023


  • attractant
  • behaviour manipulation
  • floral resource
  • pheromone
  • pollination
  • pollinator


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