The bee population has surged in my garden this year. In addition to the honeybees moving in, I think there may be a bumblebee hive nearby, too. There are a lot of bumblebees around. Especially in the Buddha garden where most of the vegetables are grown.
So I've begun to research and learn that bumblebees are actually the main pollinators of tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, red clover, alfalfa and beans among other plants. In Europe, nearly all the hothouse tomatoes are pollinated by bumblebees. They perform an action called sonication or buzz pollination that vibrates the flower and anthers to make them release their pollen. In tomatoes, this vibration to release pollen is crucial and evidently honeybees are not that attracted to tomato flowers.
Bumblebees will fly at lower temperatures, they will pollinate flowers that don't produce nectar, and they have furry bodies to collect pollen and pollinate as they travel around the garden.
Plus bumblebees are gentle creatures -- have you ever petted a bumblebee? I hope to do this, if I can spot a sleepy one!
Happy weekending! xo