Bees and Flowering Grapevines May 20, 2019 13:25
Honey bees and bumble bees are the most common.
They are busy collecting and scattering pollen everywhere.
They particularly love lavender, rosemary and wild weed flowers.I rely on them to pollinate my fruit trees.
I love the bees, but I do not need them to pollinate my grapes.
Grape flower buds have plumped up. May is flowering time for my vines.
My different varieties bloom at different times. Viognier is first and is now in bloom. Later comes Counoise and Mourvèdre with most buds now still tight.
Out of the buds appear small white flowers.
These tiny flowers are self-contained pollinators
that have both male and female parts.
If all goes well each individual berry will get pollinated and a full bunch of grapes will start growing.
Gravity or a wisp of wind is enough to pollinate a grape.
Bees are not needed to carry the pollen.
Good thing because these little flowers do not attract bees.
In a little over 3 ½ months a sweet ripe cluster will be ready for harvest like this Counoise.
There is an issue this year. Late rains. An unusual series of storm fronts have been dropping down here from Alaska. These fronts have been extra wet. Rainfall has been ongoing with significant heavy downpours.
Vines that are blooming now are at risk of having pollen washed away before it can do its job. Berries that don't get pollinated are called "shot" berries as seen in the cluster below. This really affects the yield at harvest.
On the bright side. The storm fronts have also been cold.
The cool temperature has delayed some flowering.
I will just have to wait and see how these May storms have affected pollination
and grape yields this vintage.
But one thing is for sure, bees had nothing to do with it.