We hope to expand on this subject in the near future. For now we’ll mention that we are using hornfaced mason bees and alfalfa leafcutter bees for pollination of our seed varieties. First chance I’ll add images. Being an entomologist this is a project that I love working with.
We released the mason bees from the refrigerator around April 1st, 2013. Today (April 13th) I saw the first bee entered a hole in the block. That was exciting. We hope that this is a sustainable undertaking. We purchased the initial bees during the winter. We hope that enough bees will be produced each year to help us grow our seed business.
It’s now May 2nd and I can report that the mason bees seem to be doing well. I have stood near the cages a couple of times to observe. I can see the bees moving from flower to flower. I haven’t seen them entering tubes in the domiciles. A bato bucket partially filled with clay soil and watered well has been placed in each cage as a source of mud for the bees. They have all they need, now it’s up to them. Here’s a pic of one of the pollination cages. This particular cage is being used to pollinate Fragaria vesca ‘Hawaii 4’. Plants are all in bato buckets and on a drip system..