strawberry pollination

Asked June 18, 2020, 11:43 AM EDT

Plants had massive flower production, well fertilized, watered, compost and manure etc. etc. am pretty sure stunted and or lack of fruit due to not being pollinated. Had many bees on flowering cherry earlier and now have bee activity on raspberry plants but no bee activity at the time of strawberry flowering. Would introducing mason bees next year help with this problem? Would they be active when strawberries are flowering (this year mid May), or should I be looking at a different pollinator? As a side note have been gardening in same location (Ferndale) for twenty-five years, the loss of bees has been remarkable, my beds use to literally sway from the weight on the bees, now I see fewer and fewer each year.

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

Misshapen strawberries can be an indicator of poor pollination, frost injury, or damage from herbivores such as tarnished plant bug.

Ferndale had near or slightly below freezing temperatures in mid-may, and if your strawberries were in bloom during this time, that could be a cause.

The most common pollinators in May will be honey bees, bumble bees, mining bees (Andrena), and small sweat bees. Mason bees are used commercially for pollination of some tree fruit and blueberries. For them to be effective in the home garden, the mason bees need a place to nest. If you have bee condos (https://pollinators.msu.edu/publications/building-and-managing-bee-hotels-for-wild-bees/) or cavities that are suitable nesting sites, they may stick around and improve your strawberry pollination.