[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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NewsService at ars.usda.gov | www.ars.usda.gov/news
Phone (301) 504-1636 | fax (301) 504-1486

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