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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

    Post

    I have Patriot, Jersey, Bluecrop, and several other types of blueberry bushes, most of the bushes are loaded with blossums right now. The bumble bees do all the polinating because the honey bees just are not interested in polinating the blueberries. Does anyone else see this occurring? I wanted blueberry honey but have had no luck so far--the last five years of blueberry raising. We get many gallons of blueberries in spite of the lack of interest of honey bees.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
    Posts
    1,895

    Post

    Try moving the bees to another site for a short time before the blueberry bloom. Then move them into the blueberries after they have started to bloom.
    The odds are there is something blooming that they are already workig when the blueberries come on and they stay with that source.
    When you move them back they have to start a nectar search and will find the blueberries.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    From my reading: Blueberry honey is of such low quality that it is usually sold for baking. Bees will work anything else before blueberries. They must really overload the bee population in the commercial patches to get pollination. Perhaps things shake out a little differently when all you can see are blueberries for miles.

    Dickm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,577

    Post

    I spoke to commercial blueberry grower in New Jersey last year about their experiences with honeybee pollination. I was just curious, as I'm not in the pollination business. They seemed overall dissatisfied with the performance of the honeybees they rent and even used the term "lazy honey bees". They further told me that they encourage carpenter bee populations by keeping piles of cut wood around the perimeter of their property.

    FWIW, while there, I did buy some local blueberry honey, although not all that notable, I would not consider it low quality. It was good - not great.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Central Georgia
    Posts
    48

    Post

    For what it's worth, we bought our hives and put them in place while our blueberries were still blooming. Watching the bushes, we saw lots of big fat black and yellow B-52 bees (bumble or carpenter? I'm not the right one to ask on that.).... The big bees are responsible for pollinating the blueberries. The honey bees completely ignored them, and seemed to prefer clover and dandilions.

    It does appear, however, that if our swimming pool produced fruit, it would be the best-polinated thing in the yard. The girls sure do love to have regular pool parties, and totally ignore their "designated" water source.
    Joe<br /><br /><br />\"The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell\" -- Confucious

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
    Posts
    1,020

    Post

    Bumble bees seem to work a lot more things. We have many, many rhodies (sp?) that the honey bees never come near, but my kids know better than to mess with the flowers - odds are there's a bumble in every one of them. Some look as as large as my thumb, some almost the size of a honey bee.

    Mason bees as well seem to be very active on things the honeybees aren't working.

    Now, dandelions - my bees love dandelions. Our neighbors moved out a month ago, and my bees are everywhere in their yard. The new neighbors move in soon, and I'm going to be sorry when they mow.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Wallaceton, Pa. U.S.A.
    Posts
    20

    Post

    Hi all,
    I have seen honeybess on low wild ground cover blueberries, called rabbiteye around here. I have never seen them on low or high bush types.
    The blueberries in Maine are the low ground cover types.afaik
    rick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
    Posts
    1,302

    Post

    I had my hives right in the middle of my wife's blueberry patch. The bumblebees and other bees, wasps, etc., were working the blueberries and the honeybees were off doing something else. Blueberry honey isn't all that good anyway. The blueberries are among the best of all berries for including antioxidants in your diet.

    We have blackberries in bloom right now and I saw one bee working the blossoms. There were scores of little waspy-looking things and some little bees, but only one honeybee. We also have poplar in bloom and white clover and dandelion, so I guess they'll work whatever is closest and most abundant and easiest. Cotton, clover and poplar are my biggest bee crops. If I ever get enough bees to make it worthwhile, I'll move mine down to the coast to get gallberry honey.
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    On a farm, I've got 16 hives on about 4 acres of blueberries. Even with those high number of hives per acre, the guy that owns the farm said he saw some bees on the blueberries, but mostly bumblebees... so I doubt there even is such thing as true "blueberry honey". My bees didn't get any surplus from the blueberries. They also barely worked the stawberries which bloomed next, because the blackberries started blooming about the same time. I know the grower is a little disappointed in the strawberry pollination (he commented some were mis-shapen), but I don't charge him anything so...

    My bees are starting to get some surplus on the blackberries at least- just not as much as I had hoped.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Delta, British Colombia, Canada
    Posts
    44

    Post

    I have my bees in blueberries as well and have seen some on the flowers but noticed many were going to other plants for their food. I don’t blame them they are doing what they are supposed to do (get the best food they can) I can not begrudge them anymore than a child choosing candy instead of lettuce. The point that matters for me is that the bees are doing their best and that’s enough for me. With cranberries they use a spray to get the bees to pollinate so if they want good pollination on blueberries than maybe that could be the solution for the growers. Or the farmers could stop spraying everything and maybe they could get what they need naturally but I doubt they will do that anytime soon.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Lakeland FL
    Posts
    846

    Post

    on our blue berry farm the bees pollinate the bushes very well. Also we know lots of growers and other beekeepers that rent hives, all pollinate the blue berrys fine. It is not unusual to see 10 bees on a plant in the main flow. just make sure there are not so many wild flowers around. if you have any questions just ask us.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    848

    Post

    I rent bees to some strawberry grower's,It is best to wait 4-5 days after the first bloom before you place the hives out.maybe the same with the blueberry's.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    marlette Mi
    Posts
    35

    Post

    My boss, last year put 60 colonies on a blubery farm and has been doing so for almost 9 years. The farmers are happy and he gets a good yield while they are there, about 2 weeks. I haven't tasted the honey but I know it is sought after in some meadmaking circles so it can't be that low of quality.

  14. #14

    Post

    I was around our bluberries yesterday and noticed many honey bees working them! This is the first time in 4 years I ever have noticed more than 1 or 2 bees on them. As for the carpenter bees, they are always on them. The honey bees today were covering them up even with the tulip poplar flow starting.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Rome, GA
    Posts
    274

    Post

    Here's a link to an interesting study done by the University of Georgia reagarding honeybee polination of blueberries.

    http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/Publicat...ollination.pdf
    I've found it easier to keep bees than keep relationships. At least when I'm stung by bees I know why.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Rome, GA
    Posts
    274

    Post

    I've found it easier to keep bees than keep relationships. At least when I'm stung by bees I know why.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Warne, North Carolina
    Posts
    551

    Post

    Hey Powernapper and all,

    Where do you get all those varieties of blueberry bushes?? I've been trying to find some that are winter hardy for my area. Any ideas?? Sorry to change the subject...let's see... My bees hardly pollenate the blueberry bushes that I do have. I was thinking if I had more bushes they might just start though, what do you think??
    ~What do you know there's so much to be done
    Count all the bees in the hive, Chase all the clouds from the sky~

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    637

    Post

    here in BC we have lots of blueberries, i've got hives out in pollination now. I remember one year when we were pollenating a 20 acre feild we were doing an inspection on the bees and supering up while the blueberry grower was mowing the grass between the rows and i noticed his tractor was shiny as if it were wet. later i found out that it was wet...with nectar of course it dried out so it was very sticky.

    it is possible to get honey off blueberries but like any other flow you need volume. even 1 hive to the acre will do it. i remember quit often being able to take a nuc off of each colony in the blue berries and we'd still get a crop (2 or 3 dadants)of honey. soil composition and enviroment also plays a roll in wether blue berries are goin to produce nectar, quit often you see blueberry growers putting heaps of saw dust along the rows at the base of the plants becuase they like the acidic soil it produces. i've always noticed more honey from sawdust treated blueberries then the was that were bare.

    i think i'm going to plant a few blueberry bush here soon, some raspberries too.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Whiteville, NC
    Posts
    193

    Post

    http://www.danfinch.com/

    Great source for blueberry plants based in North Carolina
    GeeB
    Life must be lived forward but understood backwards.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    West Newton, Pa.
    Posts
    915

    Post

    Cyndi,
    Just do an internet search for 'Henry Fields'. They have about 8 - 12 different varieties of blueberries you can order online. Prices aren't too bad either.
    Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken!

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