My colleague, David Tarpy, and I are beginning a project studying blueberry pollinator diversity and abundance in the southeast, lead by masters student Shelley Rogers, and this week Shelley conducted the first site visits. Our locations span the state and include conventional, organic, commercial, and unmanaged sites.
We have experience a record number of chilling hours this winter, which means bloom will be concentrated this spring.
O'neal, one the early blooming varieties was already pushing buds this week, which means we have about 2 weeks before pollinator assessments begin in earnest. The goal of this project is to determine which pollinators are most abundant and efficient in our blueberry agroecosystem and what landscapes are most conducive to these insects. This project will run for 2 years and encompass at least 14 locations and supported in part by the NC Blueberry Council.