Skip to content

Bees Help Strawberries Reach Their Potential

Nothing says summer like the first juicy sweet strawberry of the season.   Strawberries self pollinate and are not dependent on pollinators for fertilization. BUT early summer pollinators, most notably bees ensure the berry will attain perfection. The fruit of insect pollinated flowers are not only larger and have less deformities but also firmer, with a shelf life lasting an additional 12 hours. These few hours are significant to a fruit that has a four day shelf life.

Blue Orchard Bee on Strawberry Flower

Varieties of strawberries found throughout the world and people have eaten wild berries since ancient times while only cultivating them since the 1300’s. The modern day strawberry is the descended from a cross between two New World varieties: the Virginia strawberry (small but flavorful) and the Chilean strawberry (large as walnuts).

DSC_0023

Cultivated Strawberries

Strawberries are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside instead of on the inside. In fact the fruit is really really a collection of many tiny fruits, the result of 200 ovaries that need to be pollinated for the strawberry to reach its ultimate potential. This is achieved by the industrious work of many of our native spring bees including blue orchard bees, small carpenter bees, cuckoo bees, mining bees and sweat bees. Numerous other pollinators are also frequent visitors such as the bee fly.

DSC_0011

Small Carpenter Bee on Strawberry Flower

DSC_0005

Mining Bee on Strawberry Flower

 

 

 

 

 

In short, strawberries do not rely on the pollination services of pollinators but bees raise strawberries to a new level of perfection enabling each berry to attain its ultimate potential, to transcend from good to GREAT!

DSC_0029

A History of the Strawberry. Grubbing, Vern. The University of Vermont, A publication of UVM Extensions Vermont Vegetable and Berry Program. June 2012. https://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/strawberryhistory.html.

A Better Berry, Thanks to Bees. Stokstad, Erik. Science. December 3rd, 2013. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/12/better-berry-thanks-bees.

Cornell University study of native pollinators on the production of commercial strawberries. https://entomology.cals.cornell.edu/extension/wild-pollinators

The Pollinator Perfect Berry

The Pollinator Perfect Berry

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Did You Know!

The native Blue Orchard Bee is a very efficient pollinator. 250 of these bees can do the same work as 40,000 honeybees!

There are 4,000 species of native bees found in North America with over 400 species found in New York State.

Bees do not see the color red!

Squash Bees are specialists of plants in squash family.

Follow Native Beeology on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: