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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Do bees pollinate lemons?

I was making gazpacho for lunch and suddenly noticed that the lemon I just cut in half has a honeybee on its label. As we do in today's computer driven world, I immediately searched google for "bees pollinating lemons" and found several references.

One University of Florida paper says:
"Lemons: Russian literature is cited which indicates lemons benefited from pollination. This is in opposition to most U.S. studies indicating the value to be minimal. However, there is evidence that seedlessness can result from self pollination, and that seedlessness may contribute to a reduction in fruit set."

An article on CCD says:
"A number of agricultural crops are almost totally dependent on honey bee pollination (90-100%), including almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, kiwifruit, macadamia nuts, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, onions, legume seeds, pumpkins, squash, and sunflowers. Other specialty crops also rely on honey bee pollination, but to a lesser degree. These crops include apricot, citrus (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, etc), peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, grapes, brambleberries, strawberries, olives, melon (cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew), peanuts, cotton, soybeans, and sugarbeets.

A fun Smithsonian article on teaching students the importance of bees in our food suggests making a bee-free barbecue and mentions bee-dependent foods that the students couldn't use, including lemons.....hmmm I guess for the iced tea or as an ingredient in the BBQ sauce.

I'm interested that the lemon grower saw fit to put a honeybee on the label - nice for us beekeepers, but the bee doesn't seem to be essential to the lemon crop as the bee is to some other crops.

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  1. Bees are the major pollinators for orange trees and lemons.
    This period in Greece the orange and lemon trees are full of flowers and thousands of bee hives are moving near them.
    See here, http://greekbeekeeper.blogspot.com/2007/03/blog-post_27.html the bees working on the flowers on a tree in my garden in Nea Makri (close to Marathon).

  2. The pictures on your site are just beautiful, Beehappy. Thanks for telling/showing me about bee pollination of the lemon tree

  3. Anonymous2:14 PM

    The Smithsonian "Bee-free Barbecue" article you mentioned wrongly lists several foods as requiring bee pollination, including potato and sugar. Both potato and sugar cane are asexually propagated and the edible part is a stem. No pollination is required.

    Other products on the "Bee-free Barbecue" list can be produced without bee pollination as well. Greenhouse tomatoes are often hand-pollinated. Cultivated vanilla is also hand pollinated. Production of lettuce seed may require bee pollination but production of the lettuce crop requires no pollination.

  4. Anonymous7:31 AM

    Fantastic blog site.
    I learnt whole load about pollinators and pollination.

    Nickson Otieno
    Nairobi, Kenya

  5. How long do the bees pollinate the lemon tree. My tree is in a container and it has lots of blooms. I've noticed that there are lots of bees on the blooms all the time which keeps me from sitting out on my patio where the tree is because I dont want to get stung. How long does this process goes on? Should I be concerned? It's a meter lemon tree. Does this help the fruit grown I only got one lemon last year.


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