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What pollinates the coffee blossom?

Coffee blossom

Coffee blossom

Have you ever wondered what pollinates your morning coffee?

The smell of coffee blossom in Coorg, the heart of the Mysore coffee area in India, is sublime. It wasn’t even the right season for blossom when I was there, but a few renegade flowers gave a hint of what it must be like in the real flowering season.

I was curious as to what might be the chief honeybee pollinators, but none of the locals could tell me at the time. Fortunately at one place I stayed, some pollination researchers just happened to be the next guests and, courtesy of the host, I now have answers.

“Bees species are indeed the main pollinators of coffee. In Coorg, Apis dorsata is the first pollinator (60% of the pollination), then comes Apis cerana (20%) and Trigona Irridipennis (stingless bee).

“Apis florea only rarely visit coffee and there is almost no Apis mellifera in Coorg. But this can vary in different regions in India.

“It is very difficult to find coffee honey, as bees are usually mixing nectar from different flowers. And the honey harvest is not done just after the end of the coffee flowering but a few months later, when other trees have flowered.”

Turlough

Vita’s Guest Beekeeper Blogger

 

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