When the bees ignore your trees

I’m becoming desperate this year. Seems to have been a big die off of native pollinators in my area and early Japanese plums are already about done while earliest nects will be in a couple of days. I am going to need a nice duster of the type used in housework apparently. It will be a very quick job to take care of “self fertile” varieties, that is varieties compatible with their own pollen. For a good crop, apparently some kind of mechanical pollination is required, whether by bees or a resourceful grower.


Man, one way or another, hard to catch a break this year! I hope it works for you.

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Even after releasing my own mason bees this spring I counted about any many flys on my plums as i did bees. While I knew some plants are more atractive to beetles and flys like pawpaw I didnt realise how much flys contrubte. This artical seems to back that observation.

I suggest taking the blood from a frozen packaged whole chicken diluting it and spraying it on the trunks of the trees needing pollenation.


What I have done here is plant a 1/2 acre wildflower meadow with as much diversity as possible. This has resulted in a much greater diversity of bee species.


I hand pollinated a multi-graft container apricot in my garage about a month ago. Half of the tree is Pluots (Dapple Dandy and Flavor Queen). It seems to have set well. I cut some fur from our dog (yorkie) and made a small brush. I tried it on some outside trees last week, it’s a bit of a pain on the bigger trees.

Consider taking up beekeeping as a hobby. It is a lot easier than hand pollinating.

I’m just a bit north of you Alan, and the one day out of the last several when the weather was warm and sunny they were swarming my plums. Maybe you missed some of the action when you were away from home at one of your clients’ orchards.

Don’t overlook mosquitoes as pollinators. They seem to be effective around here. Gotta be good for something.

“How to become a millionaire keeping bees… start with two million. When you’re done, you’ll have a million.”

I’m a beek. There’s truth in the statement above. It would be cheaper and easier to build habitat for native pollinators. I’d also get stung a heck if a lot less! (I’m also busy building native pollinator habitat.)

If it weren’t for my mead making hobby, I’d sell off my bees/equipment.


When I started my business almost 30 years ago now, it was called Landscape Habitats and I advertised a service that establishes mini-native prairies, wildlife feed stations and organic orchards. Most of the response was for organic orchards which it turned out I couldn’t really make work. That’s what I get for having believed Rodale publications and not factoring in the fact that the whole world wasn’t like S. CA where my fruit growing experience was at the time.

At any rate, my property has always been a laboratory, so to speak, and is full of plantings that feed my buzzem buddies from spring almost through fall- or as long as they are out.

I’ve been home on the warm days since plums bloomed, working in the nursery. Always the last trees to get mulched and pruned. Plus it’s when I put out the trees I order for the year.

Not from the description in the article I posted. Keep in mind that I have a lot of established trees so using a house dusting brush I can pick up lots of pollen and move it around pretty quickly. I’m guessing only a few minutes per tree. With the mite issues, beekeeping is a pain in the ass around here- hives dying more often than surviving winter.

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They’ve arrived at last. Mason bees, smaller bees, bumble bees and a few species of pollen loving flies. I thought I’d have to use a duster today but it didn’t seem necessary because of this sudden appearance. The Mason bees and flies were mostly working the J. plums and the bumble bees the nectarines.

I only hope that the bumble bee work was adequate for the nectarines and early blooming peaches today. Tomorrow will be cloudy although fairly warm, and then cold and wet is expected for the rest of the week.

Such a weird, cool and wet spring to be following the warmest winter in history.

It still seems that my population of carpenter bees has completely crashed.


@alan, how did things end up with this situation? Did you have a good amount of pollination?

Snow on Mother’s day and a subsequent hard frost rendered pollination a mute point last year. Probably a coincidence but it’s strange that the pollinators arrived late on the one year where their work would not have mattered to the trees.

Once they showed up the did so in what appeared to be their usual numbers.

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