What are the bees doing with the strawberries?

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Whether pure, on the cake or as a sweet jam for breakfast - strawberries (Fragaria) are among the most popular fruit of the Germans. But most hobby gardeners know that strawberries have great differences in quality. Deformed or incorrectly formed strawberries may have their origin in the type of pollination. Scientists have found that pollination by bees significantly improves the quality, taste and yield of the popular pickle fruits.

Ways of pollination

In addition to essential factors such as light, wind and rain, pollination also plays an important role in the quality of strawberries. Strawberries are among the so-called self-pollinators. This means that the plants are able to pollinate the flowers themselves using their own pollen - because strawberries have hermaphroditic flowers. In self-pollination, the pollen falls from the flowers of the plant down to another flower and its flower stalks; The result is mostly small, light and deformed strawberry fruits. Another way of natural pollination is the spread of pollen from plant to plant by the wind. This variant is also less effective in terms of quality and yield.

ripe strawberries

Strawberries are able to pollinate themselves. In a cross-pollination, however, the fruits are larger

By insect pollinated strawberries, however, lead to heavy, larger and well-formed fruits. The increasing demand for large, visually "beautiful" strawberries can only be covered by insect pollination or hand pollination. Although man-made pollination yields qualitatively similar fruits to pollination by insects, it is very laborious, expensive and time-consuming. Researchers have also found that strawberries pollinated by bees taste better than hand-pollinated fruits.

Pollination by bees

The pollination by bees leads to a much better fruit quality than self-pollination. The insects can carry more pollen than, for example, be spread by the wind. The helpful helpers also distribute the already existing and self-brought pollen better by crawling around on the flowers of the plants.

Bees pollinate strawberry blossoms

The bees fly from flower to flower and distribute the pollen

Bees pollinated by bees produce a higher yield and a better grade. The fruits are generally more aromatic, larger and have a more intense, red color than otherwise pollinated flowers. In addition, there are positive characteristics such as longer storage life and a particularly good sugar-acid ratio.
Good to know: There are differences in the effectiveness of bee pollination between the different types of strawberry. Possible reasons for this are, for example, the flower structure of the plants and the compatibility of their own pollen.

Honey or wild bees?

In addition to honeybees, bumblebees, which are among the so-called wild bees, increase the quality of the fruits. Unlike honeybees, bumblebees only live one year. Since they do not have to hibernate because of their short lifespan, they also do not create large supplies. This leads to a constant activity of the animals: they can pollinate more flowers than honeybees in a much shorter time.
Bumblebees are also busy shortly after sunrise and until late in the evening on the road. Even at low temperatures, they seek out the plants to pollinate them. Honeybees, on the other hand, are also very industrious pollinators of useful and wild plants, but once the temperature drops to about 12 degrees Celsius, they prefer to stay in their hive. It is said that there is also a difference in taste between the strawberries pollinated by honeybees or wild bees, but this has not yet been proven.

Attract diligent helpers

Nesting aid for insects

By creating an insect hotel, you can lure the helpful helpers specifically into your garden

Bees not only have a beneficial impact on the quality of the popular fruits, but are generally valuable roommates of our ecosystem, so you should pay great attention to maintaining bee health. Create natural animal sanctuaries in your garden, for example by building dry stone walls or bee hotels, and provide sufficient food sources by planting flower bushes. Plant targeted bee-like plants such as white clover (Melilotus albus) or lime trees (Tilia platyphyllos), which produce particularly rich nectar and pollen and are therefore often flown by the hard-working bees.On hot and dry summer days, water your plants enough to keep the flower florets in place. Avoid using insecticides as much as possible.

Video Board: Strawberry pollination with Natupol bumblebees - S&A Produce.

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