Over the last decade we have seen major advances in blueberry breeding, horticulture, and pest management, but the extension recommendations for pollination have not kept pace with these advances. This project aims to develop modern pollination recommendations and decision support tools by combining expertise from applied entomology, apiculture, horticulture, breeding, economics, and meteorology We will focus in Michigan, Washington, Oregon, and Florida to compare and conduct cost-benefit analyses of different strategies for honey bee pollination; determine pollination requirements across cultivars; determine how variable weather conditions affect blueberry pollination; develop predictive models of pollination for a Pollination Planner; and deliver information on improved blueberry pollination to the industry.
We are using The Pollination Triangle shown below to guide our approach. We aim to understand the interactions between bees, blooms, and weather so we can predict how those components predict yield.
This knowledge will then be developed into a Pollination Planner that will allow growers to explore the implications of different honey bee stocking densities, weather conditions, and horticultural decisions on yield. We also will connect this to costs, revenues, and profit through economic analysis.
The project is just starting, so there are no results to share yet. Please connect with us online or via email to learn more about the project as it develops!