Thursday, March 19, 2009

In the Spring, my thoughts turn to … Bees???

Our once abundant (supposedly self-pollinating) peach tree hasn’t produced a single peach in a good seven years. Such a tragedy! Recently my husband visited the local nursery for tips. “Prune the tree,” the expert recommended. “And bring in some orchard mason bees.”

Orchard mason bees? We’d never heard of them.

Supposedly these industrious little insects are wonderful fruit tree pollinators and are used by orchards around the country. Pollination–that’s their raison d'etre. They don’t make honey and are non-aggressive, only stinging if roughly handled or trapped under clothing.

DH came home with what looks like a little plastic pill bottle. Inside are bee eggs. (The eggs are in an egg sac.) He also purchased a wooden hive to attach to the far eave of our house, where the bees will lay their eggs for next year. And the year after that. And so on. (Without the wooden hive, the critters burrow into nail holes or other cavities in wood siding.)

He put the bottle on a shelf in the refrigerator. On March 3, following the directions, he set the bottle outside and peeled open one end. But mother nature wasn’t ready to let go of cold weather, and the temperature dipped below freezing. After a call to the nursery, he took down the hive and returned the egg sac to the plastic bottle, which once again sits in our fridge. Yesterday, with the temperatures now above freezing, he tried again.

Should be interesting.

I’m curious. Has anyone ever used these bees? If so, what happened?

Thanks for letting me guest-blog today, and pollinatingly yours,

Ooh, Baby!
March RT Top Pick!

P.S. I just learned I'm a double finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest! The books that finaled are The Pilot’s Woman, the second book in the Halo Island series, and My Sisters, a women’s fiction novel released in November, 2008.


Estella said...

Congratulations, Ann!

Linda Warren said...

Never heard of those little critters. Here in Texas peach tress don't last that long. After a few season, they're gone. Maybe we need some mason bees. LOL

Congratulations! That's wonderful.

Ann Roth said...

Thank you, Estella!

Linda- Maybe you do!