[NAFEX] Fwd: Early Bee Gets the Pollen Earlier
Lon J. Rombough
lonrom at hevanet.com
Tue Jan 22 10:08:47 EST 2008
Begin forwarded message:
From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Date: January 22, 2008 4:25:27 AM PST
To: ARS News subscriber <lonrom at hevanet.com>
Subject: Early Bee Gets the Pollen Earlier
Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Newly Designed Bee-Box Boosts Pollinators' Readiness
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Marcia Wood, (301) 504-1662, marcia.wood at ars.usda.gov
January 22, 2008
--View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at
Hardworking blue orchard bees can be coaxed out of their snug winter
cocoons just in time to pollinate the year's earliest and best
blossoms, thanks to a newly designed box for these slumbering
Bee experts with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Pollinating
Insects Biology, Management and Systematics Research Unit in Logan,
Utah, created the box to help growers and beekeepers ensure that blue
orchard bees (Osmia lignaria) or other wild bees are ready to help
America's harried honey bees (Apis mellifera) pollinate fruit or nut
trees--or other crops--as soon as they begin to flower.
Synchronizing bees and blooms is tricky, according to ARS research
entomologist Theresa L. Pitts-Singer at Logan. For example, almond
trees may burst into bloom when still-wintering bees aren't yet ready
to pollinate them.
Pitts-Singer, Logan technician Glen E. Trostle, and former Logan
entomologists William P. Kemp, now with ARS in North Dakota, and Jordi
Bosch, now in Spain, designed and tested the housing unit, called a
"bee warming and emergence box." ARS is seeking a patent.
Tests in a California almond orchard and Utah apple orchard--with about
450 female blue orchard bees in each--showed that approximately 50
percent of the bees sheltered in the new boxes flew outdoors by the
fourth day of the test. That was two days earlier in California and
seven days earlier in Utah than bees emerging from traditional,
unheated wood blocks.
For the experiment, prototype units--made of polycarbonate and
polystyrene foam, and measuring 16 by 10 by 13 inches--were slipped
inside wood shelters in the orchards. Each prototype included a heating
unit, thermostat and clear tube for bees to use as an exit. Some
daylight comes into the box through the clear tube, so that bees can
find their way out.
Flexible bristles lining the tube allow bees out, but not back in.
That's a plus, because it encourages the bees to make new, clean nests
in wood blocks nearby.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research
This is one of the news reports that ARS Information distributes to
subscribers on weekdays. Send feedback and questions to the ARS News
Service at NewsService at ars.usda.gov.
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ARS News Service, Information Staff, Agricultural Research Service
5601 Sunnyside Ave., Room 1-2251, Beltsville MD 20705-5128
NewsService at ars.usda.gov | www.ars.usda.gov/news
Phone (301) 504-1636 | fax (301) 504-1486
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