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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Springfield, VT, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Attracting bees to fruit trees

    I just installed a couple of packages in hives located in our small orchard about 2 weeks ago. Lots of good activity and they seem to be doing well. One queen is really working as she already has 4 frames of capped brood.
    One of the fruit trees just opened it's blossoms yesterday and is in full bloom. This tree is not 100 feet from the hives, yet there is not one honey bee visiting the tree. How do I get them to pollinate the tree? Thinking about putting some honey on the tree. Maybe that will attract them?

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    fairfield,ohio
    Posts
    676

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    They started blooming yesterday. They will find them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    It is my understanding that it is difficult for bees to communicate the location of a food source that is under 200 feet away from the colony. This has been related to me by several long-term beekeepers. Is it lore? I am not sure, but I can say that I do not notice my own young colony touching the honeysuckle within 50 feet of their hive. I'll accept or reject this as fact once I have more ample time to investigate.
    Pete. New 2013, 7 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    fairfield,ohio
    Posts
    676

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    I haven't heard that before. Any orchard pollination I have done or seen are put right in the orchard. But who's to say, I may be doing it wrong.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    "Lots of good activity and they seem to be doing well. One queen is really working as she already has 4 frames of capped brood."

    My friend you are trying to modify the behavior of an insect that has done what it has done brilliantly for 22 to 25 million years? Sit back let them drive and enjoy the ride. Either they pollinate the tree or they do not. With any outcome, the tree, the bees, and even you will be O.K.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    MikeFoster- I understand where you're coming from. My bees are in a friend's small orchard (apple & cherry) and we rarely see a bee on his trees. With 6 hives, 3 of them booming this year, I thought the trees would be well covered. It seems my bees prefer the maples this time of year.
    Ben M.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,954

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    PMFJI - My bee yard is inside of my apple "orchard" - my take is the same as commercial pollinators - namely, that if the bees find something that they like better (say the dandelions under the fruit trees) that they will visit the dandelions and not the fruit. Most commercial pollinators that I have observed do not place hives until the bloom is at least 30% under way. That way the bees fix on to the blossoms they are supposed to work, before anything else can distract them. Floral Consistency is the technical term.

    As for what you can do to make the bees pay attention to the blooming fruit trees right in front of them, I'm afraid I can't help you there. I've thought about moving hives from one yard to another to get the desired effect. I have blueberry fields as well that get ignored by my honey bees - thank God for the native pollinators or I wouldn't get any berries!
    Last edited by Andrew Dewey; 05-05-2013 at 05:32 PM.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Johnson County, NE USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    New to this, but I was just curious. In a small orchard, is it possible that the trees get worked and you just don't notice? How long do they stick with a couple of trees? I was only wondering because the day after I installed my bees, they found our crab apple tree and it was abuzz with activity for a couple hours and I never saw another bee after that.
    Life more abundantly at Roscommon Acres

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Rusk, Texas
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Chemguy View Post
    It is my understanding that it is difficult for bees to communicate the location of a food source that is under 200 feet away from the colony. This has been related to me by several long-term beekeepers. Is it lore? I am not sure, but I can say that I do not notice my own young colony touching the honeysuckle within 50 feet of their hive. I'll accept or reject this as fact once I have more ample time to investigate.
    I too have seen this same activity with my own bees, they have a radius i guess you could say of where they don't forage around the hives, because the parts of my orchard that are closest are rarely touched while the rest of the trees buzz from all of the bees.
    Potato Guns shouldn't be illegal in Texas!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,518

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    Quote Originally Posted by spudrocket View Post
    I too have seen this same activity with my own bees, they have a radius i guess you could say of where they don't forage around the hives, because the parts of my orchard that are closest are rarely touched while the rest of the trees buzz from all of the bees.
    I agree - my bees do not forage on my fruit trees withing 50' or so feet radius from the beehive. They also are not interested in my native plants garden. This year I get to extreme and put beehive just under the cherry-tree, which needed pollination - so far I have 5 cherries, 3 of them eaten by some animal

    My impression is that bees create no-fly zone around the beehive, which other bees do not enter as well.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Shediac, NB, Canada
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    We have our 4 hives at the back of the orchard, about 75' from the garden area. The closest fruit trees to the hives are our pear trees (less than 20' away - flyway is between the trees) and the bees were all over them this spring when they were in bloom. Ditto for the apples. Our pollination rate is so high that I have to thin the fruit. For ref, we have carniolan bees.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    bridgton maine
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    All you can do is do your best. I am having a similar issue with a 20 tree orchard, mostly apples and pears, the trees that bloomed are mobbed with fruit. The young 5 year old trees no flowers yet but they will come. Also read somewhere that honeybees prefer everything but the fruit trees you put them near. Check out and determine if you have any other natural pollinators around. bumble bees, mason bees, wasps etc. can all contribute to the effort. good luck! I look at it this way, weather it was the native pollinators or the honey bees I have 7000% increase over last year! Only had 2 apples on 20 trees last year- terrible frosty spring hurt the entire Northeast so keep trying!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    I had the same issue this year. Our single dogwood bloomed, and bees completely covered that tree until the flowers fell off. Apples, pears, peaches and cherries came in a couple weeks later, and I couldn't find a bee on any of them. I've heard that they'll work a good source until it's completely gone, ignoring secondary sources completely (as long as the primary source remains strong.)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,518

    Default Re: Attracting bees to fruit trees

    I do not know, in SoCal we do not have a real "flow" - something is blooming all year around I have no idea, what is attracting my bees, but it is not my entire garden including fruit trees, California natives, vegetables etc
    Серёжа, Sergey

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