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Everything connected to growing blueberries

Improving Blueberry fruit set

Posted by blueberrytalk on July 30, 2016

Honeybees are easily enticed to floral sources even miles away. Once the blackberry blossoms open it’s hard to keep the honeybees at home in your blueberry field.

Mason bees like to forage within a few hundred feet of their nests. Placing Mason bee nests close to “hard to pollinate” blueberry varieties is a way to combat poor fruit set.

The picture below  shows poor fruit set in a Draper blueberry plant. Start your own pollination with Mason bees! https://masonbeecocoonsforsale.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/mason-bee-cocoons-and-nests/

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Draper fruit

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Honeybees like…Himalayan blackberries

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 9, 2016

The Elliott blueberries are well past mid bloom. The Himalayan blackberries are poised to open gradually over the next couple of months.

This year, for the first time, The honeybees stayed around for the Elliott pollination. Maybe it was because the Elliott blossoms were early or maybe it was because of the exceptional nectar flow in the blueberries this year. In the past, when the honeybees went after the blackberries, we depended on hundreds of worker bumblebees. Our farm is designed to be Bumblebee friendly.

This year, we have increased our Mason bee population by releasing over 1000 Mason bee cocoons per acre to the benefit of all blueberry varieties.

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Honeybees like…early blackberry

Posted by blueberrytalk on May 4, 2016

The Draper blueberries are in mid bloom. The early blackberry blossoms open quickly creating a sea of white. The honeybees readily forsake the blueberry blossoms for the opportunity to forage in the blackberries. This is the time we like to have some stay at home pollinators like our Mason bees.

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Honeybees like….Sycamore Maple

Posted by blueberrytalk on April 23, 2016

The Dukes are at peak pollination. All of the pollinators like Duke blossoms resulting in large delicious fruit. The honeybees are drawn to the Sycamore Maple for the excellent nectar.

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Honeybees like….Pacific Crabapple

Posted by blueberrytalk on April 17, 2016

The Mason bee is gathering pollen from Bluecrop blossoms. Once the Mason bees are locked on to the blueberry blossoms they tend to stick with the blueberries even if a crabapple is growing right next to their nest shelter. Honeybees, on the other hand, gladly forsake the blueberries for the much preferred crabapple blossoms. You can hear the buzz of the bees as you approach a crabapple tree. The honeybees are gathering pollen and nectar from the crabapple blossoms. The Pacific crabapple is a native tree so you can expect to find numerous crabapple trees in any wooded area.

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Honeybees like….English Laurel

Posted by blueberrytalk on April 14, 2016

The Duke blueberries are at about 25% bloom. English Laurel is very attractive floral source for honeybees. Birds are very good at starting new English Laurel plants and they are very popular with landscape designers.

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Honeybees like…..Dandelions

Posted by blueberrytalk on April 8, 2016

As the first Duke blueberry  blossoms open the honeybees are foraging in the dandelions which are in full bloom. Fortunately the Dandelions will quickly go to seed and the bees can give their attention to the blueberries.

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Early foraging sources for Mason bees

Posted by blueberrytalk on April 1, 2016

Mason bees emerge from their cocoons a few weeks before blueberry blossoms open. Dandelions and PJM rhododendrons are in blossom during this time. Here are two other food sources: flowering red current followed by maple blossoms.

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Lurking in the tunnels

Posted by blueberrytalk on March 18, 2016

Male Mason bees have emerged and are waiting for the females to emerge from their cocoons.

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Mason bee release shelter

Posted by blueberrytalk on March 16, 2016

This shelter will accommodate over 1400 cocoons. Above the nest compartment there is an enclosed space for plastic release trays. This space is protected from rodents. When Mason bees emerge from their cocoons they exit by the screen at the back.

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