The bees have arrived and the weather has been partly cloudy in the 60s so they have been busy pollinating our early varieties which are in bloom. I have included two pictures of the bees. The first is one of the bumblebees which we bought from Koppert Biological and the second is of a honeybee which we rent while the field is in bloom. (If you click on the picture twice, it should enlarge it enough so you can actually see the bees.) The bumblebees are of the species Bombus impatiens and are a little smaller than the large wild bumblebees we see in our gardens. They are shipped in a cardboard box called a quad which has a total of 4 hives in each box.
We decided to use bumblebees because of their ability to buzz pollinate blueberry flowers (The actual buzzing they make when in a blueberry blossom causes the blossom to vibrate and release its’ pollen.) and because of the uncertainty of renting enough honeybee hives. Bumblebees can also tolerate cooler temperatures, more wind and even light rain as opposed to the honeybees. However, when the conditions are right, there will be significantly more honeybees in the blossoms than bumblebees. Hopefully we’ll have just the right mix to maximize pollination.