With the uncertainty of healthy honey bee hive availability and the high cost of hive rentals for crop pollination, an alternative or complementary bee, the blue orchard bee, is becoming more available and manageable for fruit and nut tree pollination. This presentation will describe the life cycle of this North American solitary, cavity-nesting bee, and how it can be deployed for providing pollination services while also maintaining or increasing a managed pollinator population. To watch the recording of this webinar click on the link on the upper right-hand corner of this page.
Theresa Pitts-Singer is a Research Entomologist. Pitts-Singer is part of the Integrated Crop Pollination Project leading efforts related to the use of non-Apis bees for crop pollination. Her research team focuses on improving commercial-scale use and management of blue orchard bees (Osmia lignaria) and alfalfa leafcutting bees (Megachile rotundata), pollinators of fruit and nut trees and of alfalfa, respectively. Working with private industry, Pitts-Singer patented a Bee Attractant to enhance blue orchard bee retention at artificial nest sites. With California Almond Board funding, Pitts-Singer organized blue orchard bee workshops and was instrumental in creating the Orchard Bee Association.