Pollination Behavior of Cotton Crop and Its Management

  • Wali Muhammad
  • Munir Ahmad
  • Ijaz Ahmad


Cotton is the most important non-food crop in the world producing natural fiber, edible oil, and seed cake. Approximately 249 million bales of cotton were produced worldwide in 2017. The United States, China, and India are the major cotton-producing countries in the world. Brazil is emphasizing on organic farming of cotton utilizing the natural services of insect pollinators for pollination and natural enemies for cotton pest management. Cotton products are obtained from its fruit (bolls) for lint and seed which takes place after pollination. Although cotton is commonly known as a self-pollinating crop, it is often cross-pollinated with 5–50% cross-pollination by natural mechanism of out-cross pollination. Insects are important natural pollinators, foraging cotton crop due to the presence of floral and extrafloral nectaries. Three main pollinating insect species, namely, Allograpta exotica (Diptera), Apis mellifera, and Melissodes tepaneca (Hymenoptera), have been reported as effective pollinators in cotton agroecosystems with 12% increase in fiber weight and 17% increase in number of seeds in insect-pollinated cotton crops than conventional cotton. Climate change, pesticide use, and agronomic practices are the main reasons for the decline of pollinators in cotton-growing areas. Pollination efficacy and pollinator diversity can be increased by manipulating the habitat for conservation of pollinators, reducing pesticide use, and maintaining natural flora near cotton-growing areas for alternate pollen source to pollinators for better cotton yield and quality. Small farmers can earn extra income if they get engaged in land use management to improve pollination services.


Cotton Pollination Cotton pollinators Cotton hybridization Organic farming 



Apis mellifera


Bumble bees


Bees excluded


Bee pollination




Cross-pollination essential


Hand pollination


All insects excluded


Integrated nutrient management


Integrated pest management


Integrated weed management


Open pollination




Tiny insects permitted


United States Department of Agriculture


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wali Muhammad
    • 1
  • Munir Ahmad
    • 2
  • Ijaz Ahmad
    • 1
  1. 1.Agriculture Pest Warning & Quality Control of PesticidesGovernment of PunjabLayyahPakistan
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyPir Mehr Ali Shah, Arid Agriculture University RawalpindiRawalpindiPakistan

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