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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default How many bees can a tree support?

    So I've read lots of general statements about having 1000 mason bees per acre to effectively polinate the trees. But on the flip side how many bees will a single mature fruit (let's say Apple if we need to be specific) tree support?

    I have 3 mature fruit trees in my backyard and wonder how many mason bees will be too many? When will there not be enough pollen to support the bee population im growing? Can one tree support 100 bees? Or 1000 bees? Just curious if anyone has experimented with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    985

    Default Re: How many bees can a tree support?

    Quote Originally Posted by BorderBee View Post
    When will there not be enough pollen to support the bee population im growing?
    just remember your 3 trees aren't the only trees in the world if you have too many masons they will just make more nests...
    Honeydew

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: How many bees can a tree support?

    Quote Originally Posted by HONEYDEW View Post
    just remember your 3 trees aren't the only trees in the world if you have too many masons they will just make more nests...
    I get that, I also have other pollen sources available for them. More just curious if anyone had insight to what would be optimal from a bees perspective.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: How many bees can a tree support?

    What's your dispersal rate? NOw's the time to get out there with a flashlight and count how many females have stayed to nest.


    According to SARE . . .

    " . . . approximately 250 nesting females are sufficient
    to fully pollinate an acre of apples, and 300 to pollinate an acre of almonds.
    To account for potential dispersal and mortality of pre-nesting
    females, the actual number of females that should be released is higher.
    In fact, 10 to 20 percent more females should be added if natal nests
    are used, and some 40 to 50 percent if bees are released from loose
    cocoons. The number of males released should be 1.5 to 2 times that
    of females.
    Orchards normally can support BOB populations larger than those
    strictly necessary for optimal pollination. Having more than 250 to
    300 females established per acre will not result in better fruit yields,
    but may result in more bee progeny produced. However, adding extra
    females to a particular orchard should be done with caution. Releasing
    populations too large for the available bloom can cause high prenesting
    female dispersal."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Woodinville, Washington
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: How many bees can a tree support?

    A rule of thumb would be about 5-7 nesting females per blooming tree. Thus, if you have 5 apples and 5 cherries, you really only need 30 females as they'll pollinate the cherries first, and then be alive for the apples next.

    Dave

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