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1600Re: [beemonitoring] mesh to exclude honey bees

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  • Nicholas Stewart
    Jun 2, 2011
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      Hello Hannah & Group;

         Interesting you brought this up - per my project (now well w/in the 2nd year of my native GA pollinator assessment & inventory in N GA apple orchards), we recieved federal funding to conduct an Apis exclusionary program. We, prior to the bloom, but during bud formation, chose random clumps of branches on the trees at varying heights throughout two of my orchards. Around these we built boxes of a standard square footage using mesh (the most difficult part of the ENTIRE darn thing was finding the correct mesh diameter) to exclude Apis, while still allowing as many of the Andrenids, Colletids, and Halictids to enter (as well as any pollinating syrphids, muscoids, etc.). After we were sure the flowers within the devices were unavailble for further fertilization, we removed the boxes. We have, subsequently, been monitoring the branches of interest each time we go to the sites for sampling days - ultimately hoping to see whether the most common native apoidea witnessed/quantified in 2010 were able to provide the necessary pollination services Apis-free equivalent to conditions when present.

      As part of the funding, I'll be publishing this data & methods later this year, but I can warn you that there are sooooo many options for the exclusionary material, you need to test every material prior to field implementation, as honeybees are little houdini's!

      Per Mr. Smith's follow-up questions; yes, larger buzz-pollinating behemoths were excluded as well. From my 2010 findings during the bloom, the majority of Apoid species present in the highest abundances were smaller than Apis. If we ultimately find late this summer/fall that the Apis-free branches produced similar yields & similar quality apples (i.e. - june drops vs bag/cider vs show/store apples), than we can preliminarily sumise that natives are surely capable of handling the pollination services necessary to this orchard - its only a plus that the larger natives will be present in nature, further ensuring a good yield/fruit quality.

      Hope that helped,
      Nick Stewart

      On Mon, May 23, 2011 at 9:32 AM, Hannah Gaines <hgaines@...> wrote:

      Hello Bee Monitoring List
      I am setting up an experiment in which I would like to compare fruit set with and without honey bees (or small versus large bees).  To do this I am building mesh cages which I am hoping will exclude honey bees but allow the smaller native bees.  The mesh I am considering using is 1/6 of an inch (usually used to exclude Japanese beetles).  My questions are:

      1. Will a 1/6 inch mesh exclude honey bees?
      2. Will bees smaller than honey bees fly through a 1/6 inch mesh?


      Hannah R. Gaines

      Nicholas G. Stewart
      Georgia Native Fruit Tree -----------------------------------------------------------------------
      -------------------------------- Pollinator Biodiversity Assessment, 
      ----------------- Managing Native Pollinator Species Richness:   Efforts in Sustainable, Native Pollination Services -------
           Project Design   ---   Lead Field Researcher   ---   Primary Taxonomist
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