Your orchard- what's the buzz?

My obsession with fruit trees has led to a more minor obsession with the insects that pollinate them. There are so many mysteries involved. Last year mason bees and syrphid flies were tardy and only my faithful carpenter bees tended my apricots- then they disappeared when my first J. plums and pluots bloomed and their flowers were mostly unattended. By the time peaches and then apples were in bloom, there was a plethora of my buzzem buddies going to town.

Spring weather hasn’t been so different this year, but the earliest apricot blooms were tended only by a solitary carpenter bee, however once the two later bloomers were fully open and early plums were beginning, the entire symphony of buzz came to play, except any honey or bumble bees, which tend to show up long after petal fall of even my latest apples.

And yet, I was pruning another orchard a bit north of me whose sole apricot tree was about half way to full bloom and there were bumble bees and sand bees, those ones that create singular nests in holes they drill in the ground. I have them but they never show up until well into May although they nest in the same spot on my property year after year.

I never cease to be fascinated by the diverse behavior of all forms of wildlife related to fruit trees, from insects to deer.


I think they figured out that native bees do most of the pollination most of the time. Ironic given everyone says save they honeybee and not save the native bee. There are weirder pollinators too like ants or wasps can pollinate. Then there are those weird trees like the paw paw that get pollinated by flies.


I believe that my apples are largely pollinated by mosquitoes.


This county ag/ext does good work down east in the cities of NC.

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There are two small insects working on my apricots right now. There are plenty of both. One is a very small unknown bee and the other looks like a small lighting bug shaped insect.


Looks like the last one might be a soldier beetle. They prey on aphids and caterpillars.