Lack of bees?

Dr. Margriet:
Thanks for the great info today at the Courtenay Art Knapp mason bee workshop on how to properly raise and care for the mason bees.  I had mentioned that we were having trouble with fruit trees that were not producing fruit.  We automatically pointed fingers to the bees or lack of them.  I left one rather important set of facts out. Actually thought of it after the course.  In an attempt to try and understand the whole picture of what was going on, I purchased a soil testing kit and found that we were very depleted in Nitrogen and that the soil was slightly acidic. So I’m wondering if bees have less of an affinity for fruit trees that may be not as healthy or vibrant as they should be. With nature always favoring survival of the fittest could this have been a factor? In other words would they choose healthier plants/ trees over less healthier ones?  Again thanks for your time this morning, Gail & Howard P., Courtenay,B.C.

This is a real good questions and I don’t have a definite answer.  Here  is what I do know.  I do know that bees will search out flowers with an abundance of nectar and pollen.  This means that trees with flowers that produce high sugar content in the nectar are more likely to attract pollinators than the trees with low sugar production.  This is a fact.   I know as well that certain tree varieties will produce better quality nectar than others.  For example, if two trees that are located side by side produce their flowers at the same time, but one has higher sugar nectar, it is the one with the most sugar that will attract more bees and produce a larger fruit crop.   I do not know if adding fertilizer will change this fact.   My advise is to try it.  Thanks for the great question.  Dr. Margriet

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