Dr. Frank Drummond, professor of Entomology at UMaine, described the role of native pollinators, honeybees and bumblebees in pollinating Maine‘s wild blueberries. Each pollinator insects offers ecologically- and economically-important services. Dr. Drummond presented “A wild, wild world of pollination Down East: renegade bees and loaded pistils” at the 2013 URI Ledermann Lecture.
Blueberries spread by rhizomes; patches of a single lowbush blueberry can be 20 to 100 meters across – all genetically identical (clones). 80 percent of blueberries need cross-pollination from different plants. (Less than 20% of blueberries can self-pollinate.) Some varieties are universal pollinators. Like many fruit plants, there are varieties that bloom early and in mid-season and these plants have co-evolved with different pollinators for these periods.
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