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Everything connected to growing blueberries

Archive for June, 2011

Mason Bees get it done

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 26, 2011

The white blueberry blossoms have fallen from the set fruit and the Mason bees are filling up the last nest tubes. There is a great match between blueberry pollination and the life span of the Mason bee. The bees seem happy with our new nest tubes!

July 16 update.

On April 22 Mason bee cocoons were set out in the field for release. On May 22 the last bees emerged from their cocoons and the first nest tube was completed. Cold weather was a factor in this slow start. July 11 was the last day Mason bee activity was noticed.

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Bees and blueberry pollen

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 24, 2011

The Mason bee (top left) has loaded up with blueberry pollen. The Sweat bee (bottom left) was captured right inside a blueberry blossom and the picture shows a lot of pollen.The honeybee (top right) comes from a colony where bees specialize in productive pollen sources. (It’s hard to gather pollen from blueberries.) The bumblebee comes to the blueberries after gathering pollen elsewhere (bottom right).

creamy white blueberry pollen

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Ninebark and Deutzia

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 24, 2011

Mason bee in Deutzia

Mason bees are still alive and the blueberry fruit is mostly set so we were looking for plants that will keep the Mason bees producing cocoons. The Ninebark blossoms are ending while the Deutzia blossoms are starting to open. Looks like a good combo!

bumblebee in ninebark

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
July 25,2011 update. Below is a link to a website that records the plants visited by Mason bees. The list includes white clover and we have lots of white clover. We haven’t seen Mason bees on clover but since they survived well past the blueberry blossoms we suspect they were using clover as a source of pollen. http://www.pollinatorparadise.com/Solitary_Bees/beegarden.htm#western

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Mason bees waiting for the sun

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 20, 2011

Four Mason bees are waiting for the sun to warm them so they can begin foraging. Two are barely visible in the dark nest tubes. They are near the end of their lifespan so they don’t have the energy they once had.

Mason bees

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Worker bumblebees – showing up in numbers

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 12, 2011

As bumblebee colonies expand worker bumblebees become very noticeable in the field. There is still a week or so of pollination to go in the Bluecrop and Elliots.

worker bumblebee

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Mason bees and pollen

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 12, 2011

Unlike honeybees, Mason bees carry pollen on stiff hairs under the abdomen called “scopa”. The scopa are well positioned to facilitate good pollination. Click on the picture and magnify to see the pollen grains.

mason bee with pollen

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Cornus Sericea

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 12, 2011

This wild dogwood grows on the far border of our property. The bees are willing to fly the distance to reach the delicate flowers.

Cornus Sericea

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Swarmcatching made easy

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 12, 2011

Step 1: Have the bees swarm in an ideal location.

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The colours of rhododendron pollen

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 11, 2011

Many rhododendrons are in bloom and the bees are all over the rhododendrons so we are assuming that rhododendrons are the pollen source. Click on the picture to enlarge.

rhododendron pollen

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Mason bees busy…but not with blueberries!

Posted by blueberrytalk on June 9, 2011

Rhododendrons and buttercup are close to the Mason bee nests, They are a huge attraction for the Mason bees. Worker bumblebees are all over the rhododenrons.

Composite photo by Tobia

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