When the apple trees are in bloom from early to late May, you’ll see bees pollinating the blossoms, an essential part of ensuring a good fruit set and apple cider crop. These hives are owned and maintained by a local honey producer and are only moved for a short time in late summer to the wildflower fields in the Sooke Hills. This enhances the honey. We use some of the ‘apple blossom honey’ they produce here in our award-winning Cyser.
Blue Orchard Bees (Osmia Lignaria)
Originally developed by the US Dept of Agriculture, these bees are said to pollinate up to 100 times more efficiently than domestic bees. Also known as ‘Mason’ bees, they resemble the common bluebottle fly more than they do a bee, and they produce no honey.
The smaller male bees are usually the first to be seen in the early spring. The females are often larger than domestic bees, and have a distinguishing white patch on their face. A female will lay approximately 34 eggs in her lifetime at the rate of one per day, weather permitting. Only the female is capable of a mild sting. The minimum temperature needed for the Blue Orchard bee to fly is 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which coincidentally is the same temperature at which apple pollen germinates.