Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....
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  1. #1
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    Default Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Will bees pollinate fruits and vegetables inside an enclosure built of 1/2" hardware cloth?

    Will they freely pass through the cage in and out or just turn around when first hitting it?
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Over a period of 2-3 years I ran an experimental 'watering-hole' which was formed from sphagnum moss on top of a large pan (upturned dustbin lid) of rain-water. It worked extremely well, except that for some reason pigeons were attracted to it, and I frequently found my creation destroyed in the morning ...

    So I resorted to fitting a wire cage over it, with a mesh size of 1" x 1". The bees had no trouble at all passing through that, But 1/2" square ? No idea - needs testing. With luck somebody will know for sure ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    We have ~12 berry bushes and few fruit trees all covered with either 1/2x1/2 or 1x2 metal net (to protect from deer and birds). All growing right beside the bee hives. I have never seen any bees on the blossoms, but it seemed they were pollinated by ants. I will try removing the nets next year during the day and see if bees get to them, it is possible that they had better nectar/pollen sources at that time. BTW I have seen few bumblebees on them, so the size of the 1/2x1/2 opening is not a physical problem, but it may be just preference- bees don't want to waste time on something hard to get while they have abundance of other flowers at that time.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    My experience is that they will fly over a fence most of the time, rather than through. This is a chain link fence, so probably more so for hardware cloth.
    So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by dekster View Post
    We have ~12 berry bushes and few fruit trees all covered with either 1/2x1/2 or 1x2 metal net (to protect from deer and birds). All growing right beside the bee hives. ..
    Your honey bees will not forage under their noses, regardless.
    They don't forage in a blind-spot (immediate vicinity of the hive).
    Be it covered or uncovered - does not matter.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    They don't forage in a blind-spot (immediate vicinity of the hive).
    I've watched my bees fly out of the hive less than 5 feet to goldenrod plants to forage. To be fair, the goldenrod was at peak bloom and had so much nectar you could shake it out of the flowers.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    I've watched my bees fly out of the hive less than 5 feet to goldenrod plants to forage. To be fair, the goldenrod was at peak bloom and had so much nectar you could shake it out of the flowers.
    That goldenrod must have good, strong smell to it (navigation by smell, not sight).
    If to put out extracted frames few feet away - those will be cleaned out quickly (but even I can find those by the smell alone and blind-folded).

    Near distance pollination does not work for me at all - entire property full of fruit and berry forage that must be pollinated; have blooming hedges too, largely ignored.
    UP and AWAY they go.

    Thanks go to the other bugs.
    No thanks to my own bees, at all.

    About the pollination through the netting though.
    At certain years I have beettle netting over my raspberry patch (just about 1/4 inch) - no clue about the bees - they ignore the patch regardless.
    There are enough native pollinators to get around/through the netting.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    Your honey bees will not forage under their noses, regardless.
    They don't forage in a blind-spot (immediate vicinity of the hive).
    Be it covered or uncovered - does not matter.
    No, my bees forage in the dedicated bee flower garden which is even closer (right in front of the hives), it has a variety of bee friendly flowers and normally are so full that they are chasing each other off from the flowers :-). Those are not covered in any way. Also goldenrod right beside the hives in the fall are full of bees. I will do experiment with net removal next summer and see if it makes a difference. In the end it does not make much difference as plants still get pollinated by other bugs, but it would be interesting to know...

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by dekster View Post
    No, my bees forage in the dedicated bee flower garden which is even closer (right in front of the hives), it has a variety of bee friendly flowers and normally are so full that they are chasing each other off from the flowers :-). Those are not covered in any way. Also goldenrod right beside the hives in the fall are full of bees. I will do experiment with net removal next summer and see if it makes a difference. In the end it does not make much difference as plants still get pollinated by other bugs, but it would be interesting to know...
    I would verify this by actually observing the traffic and the bees.
    If any bees are flying around my hives - these are not the resident bees (easy to distinguish the local small, natural cell mutts from the outside large conventional bees, often the Italians).
    Sure there are some bees around - coming from nearby yards (not mine).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    I would verify this by actually observing the traffic and the bees.
    If any bees are flying around my hives - these are not the resident bees (easy to distinguish the local small, natural cell mutts from the outside large conventional bees, often the Italians).
    Sure there are some bees around - coming from nearby yards (not mine).
    Yes, that is possible. Unfortunately I'm not very good at tracking individual bugs in the whole traffic activity that takes place in front of the hives... How wide is the "no forage" or "blind spot" area around the hive supposed to be?

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    I have often read that bees do not forage close to the hive. I have not observed this to be true. After the flow has ended, there is no shortage of bees working the Dutch clover that grows profusely in and around the apiary. That said, I see very few honey bees in my apple and cherry trees. Mostly wasps and other alternative pollinators.
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 11-20-2019 at 07:12 PM. Reason: Spelling
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    One of the more unusual removals i have done was a hive that set up in a vent pipe that ran from a kitchen overhead air extractor. The bees set up maybe a yard into the pipe and were flying through 1/2 inch mesh that was put over the outside of the vent to keep birds out. Or more correctly, they were not flying through they had to land on it in the process of passing through then re launch on the other side.

    I'm pretty sure that if there was something very attractive like say, honey extracting in progress, and the only thing in the way was a 1/2 inch mesh screen, searching bees would land on it and pass through.

    If the mesh was in a garden with nothing especially attractive on the other side, bees may just fly past. But interesting question Odfrank, let's know the reults once you tried it.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Out of curiosity what are you trying to do? Could you use a larger mesh like chain link or remesh?

    This is what I was thinking of, I had to look for the name
    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Steel-Remes...-ft/1001121408

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    I have about a dozen jobs making and maintaining apiaries for homeowners (wealthy) in Silicon Valley. I was interviewed at an potential new client's property where they were seeking pollination and honey. Due to predator problems, birds, rats and squirrels, they have already constructed substantial enclosures lined top, bottom and sides with 1/2" mesh. Inside are berries, vegetables and fruit trees. I am wondering how much the mesh will reduce bee pollination for the flowers inside. It is my suspicion that the flowers inside will have to very inviting for the bees to go in on every visit instead of just bumping into the mesh and seeking sweeter pastures. I suggested we could set up a hive for each enclosure that had an entrance to both the enclosure and the outdoors. As a test, maybe we will set up a robbing station inside and see if outside bees will fight their way into the enclosures.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I have often read that bees do not forage close to the hive. I have not observed this to be true. After the flow has ended, there is no shortage of bees working the Dutch clover that grows profusely in and around the apiary. That said, I see very few honey bees in my apple and cherry trees. Mostly wasps and other alternative pollinators.
    This is different from - (right in front of the hives).
    Which is what I stated.

    My raspberry patch is 3-4 yards north-east from the row of the hives - this is directly in front of the hives.
    The bees fly up, up, up, and away - how my backyard operates.
    Few bees that do work the raspberry patch (just few if any at all) are not the bees from the resident hives.
    This has been a per-annual observation.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Will bees pollinate fruits and vegetables inside an enclosure built of 1/2" hardware cloth?

    Will they freely pass through the cage in and out or just turn around when first hitting it?
    Well, train them.
    Bees are trainable.
    There are methods of bee training to somewhat less desired pastures (for pollination).
    Pretty sure you can train them to pass through the hardware.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  18. #17
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    Default

    Please steer me to where I can study these training methods. Or better yet, what would your fee be to come out to CA and do the training?

    QUOTE=GregV;1767535]
    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Will bees pollinate fruits and vegetables inside an enclosure built of 1/2" hardware cloth?

    Will they freely pass through the cage in and out or just turn around when first hitting it?
    Well, train them.
    Bees are trainable.
    There are methods of bee training to somewhat less desired pastures (for pollination).
    Pretty sure you can train them to pass through the hardware.[/QUOTE]
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Please steer me to where I can study these training methods. Or better yet, what would your fee be to come out to CA and do the training?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post

    Well, train them.
    Bees are trainable.
    There are methods of bee training to somewhat less desired pastures (for pollination).
    Pretty sure you can train them to pass through the hardware.
    No fee; not coming.
    I am only a theoretician from the readings.
    Have not done it myself - don't need it.


    Training the bees to high priority pollination projects was common in the former USSR and apparently still is known and maybe practiced.
    They pollinated much higher volumes than in the US now, at the high time of the USSR.
    They also pollinated heterogeneous crops - pretty complicated.

    Many sources of academic grade.
    Here is a good source by a quick google (look for/translate a section under Дрессировка пчел)
    I will let you auto-translate:
    https://www.medoviy.ru/stat-pasek-no..._opylenii.html

    My version modified for your case in very simple terms:
    - place something very attractive to the bees JUST inside the screen (basically touching it) - few pots of blooming catnip or mint or such/a wet frame/etc.
    - the landing onto the object would be the same as passing through the screen (hence, the touching).
    - gradually (a day? few hours?) you move the attractants inside - now the bees must get through the screen and still fly some more (maybe need a landing pad just inside the screen so that the bees land/hop inside - I don't know, but an idea).
    - once you have a working crew trained to get inside the enclosure routinely - do the bait and switch (not abruptly as you need to retain bees at the pollination project by continued stimulation - the pasture inside must be good enough to keep coming back).

    Technical details and discussion are in that article about retaining the bees working inside the enclosure would be similar to a general bee training for pollination.
    It is based on smell training of the bees so that bees are directed to a less desirable pasture and retained working it.

    Btw, this same article mentions (per my cursory check) that the pastures located TOO close to the bee yard are less desirable by the bees and takes some smell-based training to get the bees working them. This is just one of many sources saying the same.
    Last edited by GregV; 11-21-2019 at 08:11 PM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    They don't forage in a blind-spot (immediate vicinity of the hive).
    This is different from - (right in front of the hives).
    Which is what I stated.
    Huh? I thought in and around the apiary was the same as immediate vicinity. Anyhow, I was just stating my personal observations, not disagreeing with yours. During our flow, my bees are up, up, and away also. 60+ angle of climb right out of the gate.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Will bees pollinate fruits an vegetables inside a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Huh? I thought in and around the apiary was the same as immediate vicinity. Anyhow, I was just stating my personal observations, not disagreeing with yours. During our flow, my bees are up, up, and away also. 60+ angle of climb right out of the gate.
    Sure.
    Your apiary maybe a very desirable destination - for some bees.

    We need to start putting some numbers here.
    Right next to the hives == virtually 3-4 yards or closer.
    In and around the apiary == means what?
    I actually assume every corner of your apiary is far enough from at least one of your hives so the bees can point to it. All it takes.

    Like I said, my own backyard is worked by few bees.
    Sure.
    Just not my bees.

    The link for odfrank I posted - it mentions that reliable pollination for the pastures TOO close to bee yard takes some smell training for the bees.
    It is one indication that too close to the base - messes up with the bee orientation/communication; the bees must work by the smell right out of the gate (hence the need for training).
    I suppose if the pasture is smelling very strongly (a goldenrod field/a box of wet frame) - bees just find it by the smell and be done.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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