Encouraging Native Pollinators!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hi folks,

Those of you who attended the Atlantic Canada Cranberry Managment Course last month in Moncton had the opportunity to hear Melissa Girard's talk on the importance of Indigenous Pollinators. I found her talk really interesting and thought it might be a good idea to post a few of the highlights here for those of you who didn't make it to the conference. Melissa did her M.Sc. at Laval University looking at indigenous pollinators and how to attract them to cranberry fields.

First some interesting facts about cranberries - did you know that the cranberry flower does not contain nectar? It's a good idea to keep other melliferous flowers in the vicinity in order to keep bees actively foraging. Cranberry flowers are also auto fertile meaning they can self pollinate however larger fruit are formed if the plants are cross pollinated especially by bees!

Melissa suggests that it is a good idea to have floral diversity around your bogs and to take this into consideration when planning cranberry bog management. She suggests using the area around the edges of beds or around ponds to try to create continuity between flowering zones. You can do this by either leaving indigenous plants or by establishing flowering zones which may also may attract pest predators like parasitic wasps etc... Purchasing annual plants or seeds may be expensive so try to pick ones that will re-seed themselves or better yet look into perennial species - if you are concerned about your floral areas competing with the cranberry flowers for the bees, it's a good idea to mow at bloom so they will only be attracted to the cranberries.