Dear Ms. Muczynski:
Oh yes, pollinating insects do spread fungal spores. Some spores are believed to mimic pollen grains (e.g. teliomycete stage in rusts) while others produce an infection that resembles a flower and sdecretes a nectar-like exudate containing a specialized spore (spermatia). It is such a successful case of deceit in nature that we know of one case where evolution "flip-flopped" and an orchid flower "pretends" to be an infected-rotting leaf to attract flies. Google my name and Cypripedium fargessi.
The big question is, have you had the fungus identified? Dr Peter Kevan <peponapis@...
> can tell you a lot about the fungus that attacts commercial blueberries and is spread by insects.
Sincerely, Peter Bernhardt
On Sun, Nov 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM, Sharon Muczynski <muczynski.sharon@...>
It is true they collect resin from the buds, but I think they were mostly collecting fungus.
Also i found out that the fungus is Melampsora, and bees sometimes collect it and bring it back to their nests. It is thought to add nutrients or to make up for the lack of flowers. Fungus apparently has a high percentage of amino acids.
I googled and found this:
The fungus seems to be a common occurrence this time of year.
Sharon Muczynski LEED® AP
Graduate Student in Conservation Ecology