Wow! I knew Honey Bees were needed for the pollination of many different food crops, but was unaware that they pollinate 1/3 of the food grown.
I know I was reading in a bee magazine about how many bee colonies were needed for the Almond industry in California. They said that, in order to pollinate all the almonds, they need almost 1.5 million bee colonies just for almond trees. They said that the almond industry considers a single hive box with atleast 8 frames of bees to be a colony. They also said that almond growers pay an average of $150 per colony. And one colony is needed for each acre of almonds.
They said that without the bees, the almond industry would fail.
Sounds like you know more about bees than most people do.
So you have no excuse for not becoming a Beekeeper!
Latt, thanks for all that good info.
The wind does not bother the bees production too much. Except when it's 15 mph or higher.
The one thing that wind does cause, is \"drift\". Bees know which hive they belong to, but when it's really windy, it causes them to get pushed over to the next hive when they come in for a landing.
If you have a bunch of bee hives all in a row and the wind in always blowing the same direction, it causes bees to be blown over to the next hive. And eventually, the hive at the end of the row will increase population with drifted bees and the hive at the other end of the row will become weak in population.
But there is ways to fix that, but it's usually not a big problem unless they are located in an area that always has wind.
I'm just trying to figure out what makes bees tic! I have grown apples for years but didn't think to much about bees. I spent thousands on my new high density orchard last year, so now am really paying a lot of attention to everything, including pollination/bees.
I noticed weather seems to play a big part on how much they work. If you have a short window to get the trees polinated you better make sure you have \"too many\" bees to get the job done. Cold, rain, wind can really shorten that window.
My mason bees are doing pretty good I guess. Looks like several straws where they lay there eggs are being filled up so I'll have a lot more next year.
Unfortunately we got hit with 25 degree nights when I was in full bloom so I'm not going to have to many apples this year.
I had never heard of Mason Bees until you mentioned it a couple of months. I find it facinating how they live in a strw like home.
As far as apple trees with a short window of time to be polloinated. I think your right. But in all the time I have had Honey bees, I never remember a spring when they were not pollinating my own apple trees. I just think we had some freakish weather this spring. I know our apple trees here in Maine went into bloom after the wet cold freezing weather that we had. And we had a lot of blooms.
I think that your trees were closer to the blossom time than out trees were when we had that terrible cold weather. I don't think that it's a matter of having alot of bees, rather it's just a matter of having some halfway decent weather at the time the blossoms open up. Bees and blossoms don't like freezing weather.
I get a number of e-mail alerts from different unversities including U-Maine. They said many orchards in Maine lost between 10-90% of their crop depending on location, same here in Vt.
Blossoms will open even if they were hit with to cold of temps prior to bloom, however if you look closely at the anthers they will appear more brown rather than a powdery yellow. No pollen, no bees, they know it!
Wow! What you said about the blooms coming out but no apples had me wondering if my apple trees did the same thing. So I went out and looked at our trees and found very few apples forming. I found very few apples forming.
Like you said, the blossom was damaged before it ever opened up. I know I had watched the bees moving from blossom to blossom. There must have been just enough blossoms with pollen to atract the bees, but they must have been bouncing around the blossoms with very little reward for them. And my trees were loaded with blossoms. So the bees wasted their time visiting my apple trees.
So I'm guessing that if the blossoms don't have pollen, then they also don't produce any nectar. Is this right?
Some blooms, some of the anthers will be all brown, but a few in the center may still be good. On a tree all the anthers on all blooms may be good, but a few may be bad. Sometimes just a few blooms at the top of a tree may be good, the lower the colder, thus more kill. Even within an orchard you may have trees that are ok at the top of a hill.
I think you may see bees working, but they might just have to work harder to fine good pollen on a spring like this.
If you cut into young fruit at full bloom to petal fall you can see if they are good or not by looking at the center, brown like this is bad, or an all green center is good.
I checked all my apple trees for apples. What I found was mostly dried up brown blossoms with most not having any apples. Like you said, most of the blooms that did'nt freeze were at the top of the trees. I expect less than 10% survived.
I guess I thought that when you see blossoms, then there will be fruit. But thats not always the case.
All the pear trees seem fine.
Thanks for teaching something about apple trees and their blossoms.