Are honeybees an absolute requirement for successful peach pollination and do you need two “different” cultivars for cross-pollination?

Answer:  No.  Peaches have perfect flowers (including both male and female parts).  They are self-fertile and they can self-pollinate by wind.  Although honeybees can assist in pollination, they are not required nor is it necessary to plant two different cultivars near to each other for cross-pollination to set a crop of fruit.

Peaches at full bloom (March 10, 2009) at the Clemson University, Musser Fruit Research Farm, Seneca, SC.
Honeybee working open peach blossom (collecting pollen and nectar) while inadvertently pollinating at the same time.  Video shot with iPhone at the Clemson University Musser Fruit Research Farm in Seneca, SC on March 15, 2012. 
Peaches at full bloom (March 10, 2009) at the Clemson University, Musser Fruit Research Farm, Seneca, SC.
Clemson horticulture undergraduate students being taught about emasculation and pollination from Clemson peach breeder, Dr. Ksenija Gasic. Previously collected peach pollen (note glass vial) for use in hand/finger pollination.
Clemson horticulture undergraduate students being taught about emasculation and pollination from Clemson peach breeder, Dr. Ksenija Gasic.
Previously collected peach pollen (note glass vial) for use in hand/finger pollination.

Using fingertip to apply fresh pollen to stigma of emasculated flower. Honeybee gathering nectar and spreading pollen.  Most peach cultivars are self-fruitful but benefit from bees for pollination.
Using fingertip to apply fresh pollen to stigma of emasculated flower. Honeybee gathering nectar and spreading pollen.  Most peach cultivars are self-fruitful but benefit from bees for pollination.

 

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