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  • From: Monica Maggio <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Watching the pollen dancers
  • Date: Tue, 3 May 2011 07:41:53 -0700

I too would like to see if there has been an organized study of this

...any body have any further info on flower pollinator preferences,
especially something that directly compares dandelions with fruit blossoms?
It's an interesting topic for us urban orchardists!

Monica Maggio; manager
Home Orchard Society Arboretum

On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 5:36 AM, Alan Haigh <> wrote:

> Cool early spring weather seems to have condensed the blooming period of
> the
> various apricots, apples, pears, peaches, cherries and plums in my orchard
> this year. The apricots are usually distinctly early, but this year they
> strongly overlapped with J. plums which are now overlapping with everything
> else.
> With all these trees blooming at the same time and during weather not much
> getting out of the ‘60’s, with lots of breeze, I’m viewing the actions of
> the buzz-boys (well, mostly girls) with particular interest and concern.
> Will
> there be enough players to tend to the task at hand?
> Yesterday at around noon I wasn’t too pleased with the turn out- the buzz
> was no buzz- but as the cool day warmed slightly into afternoon the ballet
> began. In the pear fence I have around my vegetable garden the wasps and
> honey bees arrived to tend the blossoms.
> My neighbor over a quarter mile up the road from me started a honey bee
> hive
> last year and apparently his bees are flying through the woods to find what
> must be Eden to them, with most of my nursery and orchard trees in bloom
> at
> once. I don’t believe I saw any honey bees here last year as wild
> colonies
> have disappeared.
> This year these bees have joined my wasps, carpenter bees, syrphid flies
> and
> other unidentified members of my pollination troupe and it’s very nice to
> have them back.
> Carpenter bees are often bashed as destructive pests, not just to wood
> structures but sometimes to fruit blossoms themselves, destroying flowers
> to
> get to the pollen. However my CB’s are heroes as the wood damage is minor
> and their efforts herculean in getting out and working the flowers of most
> of the species of fruit I grow in weather that keeps others away.
> Blueberries are supposed to be common victims of their destructive behavior
> but they never seem to damage the flowers of my plants and are often the
> only insects tending them.
> As I walked around the rest of my orchard there was a decent showing of
> pollinators, with different species favoring different species of fruit.
> It’s
> not nearly as active as during warmer springs when the buzz is almost scary
> loud but I’m hopeful the action will be adequate to bring about a good
> set.
> Spring is the season for high hopes, after all.
> One thing that interested me was how everything in bloom seemed to have
> some
> insects harvesting pollen except the plentiful dandelions in beautiful
> bloom
> everywhere under the fruit trees. I’ve often read how dandelions attract
> bees at the expense of fruit blossoms but the opposite seemed to be
> happening.
> I’ve never found dandelions to be a problem and wonder if this concern is
> something researched based or one of those items that are often in the mix
> with verified information that just gets passed on with the good
> information.
> I remember reading a few years back in a NY Times list of best ideas of the
> year, of a research project that evaluated common medical advice given by
> doctors that found that a very high percentage of it was not based on
> actual
> research but was instead either leaps based on assumptions drawn from
> research but not directly proven or purely hearsay. Got to believe there’s
> a lot of that going around in horticulture and agriculture as well.
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