Bird Netting and Bees

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by monkeydog, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    Location:
    S.E. Tennessee, U.S.
    I've always placed a paper coffee filter around my almost ripe tomatoes to hide them from birds. Works good, but a lot of work. Finally broke down and bought some netting to drape over the plants. It works great so far, have had it for 3 days and have harvested 10 tomatoes without any bird damage at all.

    I'm wondering though how the bees will react to it. The netting is nylon with about 5/8 inch squares. Thats plenty of room for you average honey bee to get through, But I'd say 80% of our bee activity is carpenter and bumble bees. Of course these bees are quite a bit larger than honey bees. They have to actually stop flying, land on the net, crawl through, and then take off again.

    I'm wondering if the carpenter and bumble bees will decide that it's too much trouble and go elsewhere, leaving these tomatoes alone. I have'nt had time to observe during the day as I'm gone to work before dawn and back quite late. Have any of y'all had any experience with these nets and how bees react to them?

    On a side note...My mom just moved here from Colorado and has never in her life seen a bird eat a tomato. She was astounded, couldn't believe it was actually birds eating them. I guess their tastes are different in Colorado. I thought it was kind of humorous. Anyway, Would love to hear any thoughts you might have on the bee issue!
     
  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Tomatoes are not pollinated by bees. From what I understand, the flowers are self-fertile and only need to be shaken a bit by the wind for pollination to occur. In greenhouses the vines are shaken to achieve the same thing. No bees are required.
     
  3. monkeydog

    monkeydog Active Member

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    Thank you vitog. I just did some reading and you are correct. Apparently the sonic frequency of a bumble bees' vibating wings provides the ideal method of releasing the pollen. However, as tomato flowers are low in nectar, a bee will pass up the tomato in favor of another plant anyway, if one is available, and vibration from wind will suffice.

    So it appears I have nothing to be concerned with. Learn something every day... and that's pretty cool! I think I'll do some research on the mechanics of reproduction on all the different plants I grow regularly, should be interesting.

    Thanks again vitog!
     

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