Many insects, either deliberately or
accidentally, transfer pollen from one flower to
another, the act being called pollination.
Bees are particularly well equipped to make this
transfer because of the dense hairs that capture
the pollen grains (see Honey
Bees for a picture of a honey bee with
collected pollen). Pollen from one flower collects
on these hairs and is brushed off when the bee
visits another flower.
While honey bees are the best known
pollinators, many other bees are important as
well. Among the most important to gardeners and
orchardists are mason bees and bumble
bees (see Related Articles below). Mason bees are a bit smaller than honey
bees and blue/black in color (see photo). They
don't live in colonies but rather nest
individually in small cavities or holes. They are
excellent pollinators but do not produce honey.
Many gardeners construct nest blocks to encourage
mason bees in their gardens and orchards.
TO RAISE AND MANAGE ORCHARD MASON BEES FOR THE
HOME GARDEN See this North Carolina
Extension publication for a plan to build a mason
bee nest block.
What are Bumble