Wildflowers could help blueberry crop
Blueberry growers on P.E.I. are hoping a unique pilot project will help get their fields pollinated by bees.
Growers say there aren't enough honey bees to do the job, so some growers are planting wild flowers next to their blueberries to attract and keep wild bees close to blueberry fields.
"In a nice clean, conventional blueberry field you wouldn't see any weeds, but this type of management doesn't allow a continuous food source for the wild pollinators," said John Handrahan, a blueberry grower in Tignish.
"By identifying areas in the fields that aren't good blueberry land, that were just growing up in weeds anyway, we'll introduce others so that there is hopefully a constant source of food."
The growers want flowers to be in bloom from early spring to late fall to provide for bees throughout the season. Handrahan helped spearhead the project on the Island.
"The goal is not to replace the managed pollinators. It's my feeling that encouraging more of the natural pollinators that co-evolved with the blueberries, [it] would be one piece of an overall pollination strategy," Handrahan said.
The project does mean more work for the growers, but he says more bees will pay off in the end.
It's the only project of its kind in the Maritimes.