Honey and Bee Stuff

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Bee-on-Raspberry-Flower

James H. Cane with the Agricultural Research Service in Utah has been studying the effects of pollination by honeybees Apis mellifera and the solitary bee Osmia lignaria in raspberries and blackberries. These plants are generally self-pollinating and it is not necessary to place pollinating units (beehives) into fields to ensure fruit production. What Dr. Cane found was that there was a significant increase in berry size when the flower was pollinated by bees vs when only self-pollination occurred. When bees were present berries were found to be 30 percent larger. This appears to be because these flowers have multiple pistils and insect pollination results in a larger number of pistils receiving pollen and correspondingly developing into larger fruit.

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Pollination of Berry Crops: The cheapest and easiest way to produce more and better berries

 

Pollination is not often considered in the same terms as fertilizer or water, but is just as important.

Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from the stamens of one flower to the pistil of a neighboring flower.

Pollen is collected when it becomes entangled in the dense branched hair on the bee body. About 50-350 flowers are visited per trip and a given bee will make between 1 and 50 pollen collecting trips per day.

Raspberries and blackberries are an aggregate fruit which means the flowers actually consist of a number of separate pistils, each of which must be pollinated for formation of the drupelet.

Raspberries and blackberry cultivars range from completely self-fruitful to completely self-unfruitful. Most erect blackberries are fruitful yet trailing cultivars often require cross pollination. However, it has been found that even in self-fruitful cultivars, providing insect pollination greatly enhances yield (see [1]). Blueberries require cross pollination [2].