“Surprise, surprise, surprise!”…… to quote Gomer Pyle USMC, and of course “Shazam!”. Yes honeybees are used but, they may not be the perfect choice! I am going to include a link to an article from North Carolina State University that will tell a very detailed tale of blueberry pollination in that state’s commercial blueberry fields and mirrors some of my lay observations on a local blueberry field where I kept some bees for a few years. The location was just a bit too far from home to effectively care for the hives. My observations got me thinking…..I had three strong hives on the property and when the flowers were blooming I saw more bumble bees visiting the flowers than honey bees……the honey bees seemed to be more active on the adjacent blackberry vines…..There had to be a reason of some sort!

“Numerous native bees (including bumble bees and solitary bees) are indigenous pollinators of blueberry plants in North America. In addition, honey bees are used extensively by growers to augment populations of native pollinators. Bees are attracted to the flowers by odors and sweet nectar that is produced by glands near the base of the stigma. Both pollen and nectar serve as food for the bees and their offspring. As insects visit blueberry flowers, pollen adheres to their bodies and is carried with them as they move from flower to flower. When bees probe for nectar inside a flower, they brush against the stigma and unwittingly leave behind some of the pollen they are carrying. Some species of bees vibrate each flower with their flight muscles as they collect pollen. This buzzing activity (known as sonication) shakes pollen from the anthers so it is easy to collect, and also tends to increase pollination” will occur.

Read more at: https://entomology.ces.ncsu.edu/small-fruit-insect-biology-management/blueberry-pollinators/


I wrote this several months ago and found it in my saved for future editing so I resurrected it just in time for Easter. I hope you like it.

Pay attention to the flower size compared to pollinator size……this is either a bumble bee or ? I don’t believe our area is native to the Southeastern Blueberry Bee! These big guys use a form of pollination called “buzz pollination”. Electric toothbrushes work well too……LOL

One of my honeybees I suspect from one of my hives nearby. Note the size difference to the other pollinator working the blueberries above.

Yessssss Buzz pollination is a thing and I have had success using it on heirloom tomatoes that do not set fruit when this Houston weather gets warm and sticky…..like way too often. I have used an electric toothbrush, sadly my wife won’t let me use hers so mine is the vibrating device that does the trick. I will be doing some of that today as my Brandywine Tomato is beginning to set display flowers. Check out one of my long, long time ago posts broaching the subject with an included video of the technique. It is very effective.

Enjoy looking back into my past.
One of my favorite bee photos converted to Black and White with an artistic treatment added.