Moths pollinate by moonlight

Land-grant university researchers at the University of Arkansas found that moths pollinate apple trees at night just as bees do during the day. Researchers observed 15 species of moths visiting flowering apple trees at night. In a two-year study, nocturnal pollinators set more fruit than the closed treatment, increasing fruit set from 8% to 17%, and were nearly twice as likely to pollinate a cluster when pollinators were excluded during the day. Fruit generated by nocturnal pollinators also had a similar number of seeds as fruit generated by day pollinators, and both pollinator groups acting together. As bee populations decline, night pollinators could contribute to pollination for other crops. Increased awareness of the benefits of night pollinators could also help save their declining numbers, much like the efforts being made to save honeybees.

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