Growing Habitat for Wild Bees

unmowed row middles with clover, vetch and daisies

At Redbyrd Orchard, we love wild bees!

Wild bees are fantastic pollinators for apples and other tree fruit, in part because wild bees fly in cooler temperatures when honey bees aren’t active, and because, holy cow, the current state of affairs for honey bees is pretty scary and uncertain.

Wild bees emerge early in the spring and pollinate apple blossoms even when cooler weather prevails.  This pollination is critical for our apples. We leave unmowed row middles until early summer, allowing wildflowers to grow. After tree fruit bloom has ended , the wildflowers provide wild bees with a necessary later season food source right before they lay their eggs.

wild bee nesting tubes

We want to help our wild, both native and non-native, bees grow their populations and establish their home within our orchard.  Providing nesting sites with paper straws, drilled wood, or by simply leaving hedgerows and brush lots, encourages increased populations of wild bees.

Vetch

Remember, without bees there really would be no cider…and that would be a very very sad thing indeed!

If you’d like to learn more about the ever critical role of native bees in tree fruit pollination:

http://www.danforthlab.entomology.cornell.edu/pollination-biology.html

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