Friday, February 8, 2008

Bees! Bees! Bees! Wild Bees!

A "Berry" Good Bee for Pollinating
Blackberries and Raspberries

By Marcia Wood

Bringing grains of pollen to waiting blackberry and red raspberry blossoms may be the special talent of a small, emerald-green bee called Osmia aglaia. That's according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) entomologist James H. Cane, who...has studied the pollination prowess of this 3/8-inch-long bee perhaps more extensively than any other scientist.

Both kinds of berries are mostly self-pollinating, meaning that they can form fruit without the need for insects to bring pollen to them. But better berries result if honey bees or O. aglaia visit red raspberry flowers, Cane found. The plump, well-formed fruits were 30 percent bigger than those on red raspberry plants not visited by either bee species.

Read more about this research in the February 2008 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

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