190 - Maxime Eeraerts - Sweet cherry pollination


[00:00:00] Andony Melathopoulos: If you listen to pollination, you know that I love fruit, love, Oregon fruit. There are some of the best fruit that's grown anywhere on the planet. And right at the top, just beside the Hermiston Mellon are sweet cherries grown in the Columbia river Gorge. And we heard on a previous episode. Going on with a sweet cherry production and fruit production than the Columbia river Gorge.

[00:00:21] We heard MacEwan talking about some great NRCS initiatives to create pollinator habitat around those orchards. But I wanted to learn a little bit more about the pollination of this crop. Admittedly, it's a crop that I'm just starting to get to know. What better way to do this, to reach for an external perspective.

[00:00:39] And I found just the person Dr. Maxine is a postdoctoral researcher at WSU working with Dr. Elisa who I'm going to have on episode talking about blueberry pollination shortly. He we're going to talk today about some work that he did at Ghent university in Belgium, working with sweet tea sweet cherry pollination in this episode.

[00:00:59] It's great. Cause we. A sweet cherry pollination, but there's this really great segment. I don't want to miss after the break where he talks about using a Mason bees in cherry pollen, she has some excellent recommendations for those of you who are Mason bee producers on how to reduce parasites in your blocks.

[00:01:17] So stay tuned this week, we're going to die even to cherries with Dr. Maxine ads on pollinators.

[00:01:25] Okay all the way in Belgium. Welcome to pollination Dr.

[00:01:29] Maxime Eeraerts: Hots. Thanks.

[00:01:33] Andony Melathopoulos: I'm excited to have you here today. Sweet cherry is our topic and sweet cherries grown everywhere has grown here in the Pacific Northwest. It's grown there in Belgium has grown everywhere. I think all the way to Asia Japan and South Korea being huge sweet cherry producers.

[00:01:48] And it opens the question of what are the pollination. For sweet cherry. Is it self compatible? Do you need to plant another cultivar to be able to get fruit? Do you need to transfer pollen by an insect? Tell us about the pollination needs of sweet. Yeah. Yeah, that's a

[00:02:05] Maxime Eeraerts: good question. It's it's also amazing.

[00:02:07] Every year I find new countries that debts have commercial cherry production, like also in Scandinavia and Morocco every year.

[00:02:16] yeah. And concerning the bullet nation needs, it's it's not delineated by wind to start with, so it, it needs insects to mediate the transfer of bone and to facilitate coordination. And therefore also the food set and the yield of the crop. And. The compatibility of different cultivars actually is quite variable.

[00:02:41] You have a lot of self compatible, guilty fires. So there was that. So I've got a virus that you can plant in a motor culture block with only that go cultivar far because they don't need born from other cultivars in order to be pollinated. This is fruit, but yeah, most when it goes through European sweet cherry, most commercial.

[00:03:02] Interesting. So literary cultivars are self incompatible. So this means that they that they need another guilty virus or another genetic switch airy source or on, in order to who said fruits or to be born added. They're the bees. They need to transfer born of another cultivar to the enters of the commercial, to the stigma of the commercial cultivar in order to sit food.

[00:03:34] Andony Melathopoulos: All right. So that means when you're planting your orchard, you're going to need to put trees in there that may not necessarily be the target crop tree, but I guess you just need to, you need their pollen.

[00:03:44] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah. And for every commercial guilty fire, there are multiple Pollenizer cultivars, which I they're called Pollenizer cultivars.

[00:03:52] Available. And then depending on the grower, they are planted in full rows. Next to multiple full rows of the commercial goals are, or they are planted in between the rows. So every four or 53 would be a Bulla Naser

[00:04:09] Andony Melathopoulos: cultivar. Wow. That's fascinating. I'd always known, especially for cultivars that have in compatibility problems, that growers would deploy a Polonaise or tree every three to five trees, for example.

[00:04:23] But I hadn't really, it hadn't dawned on me that. In this crop has grown so widely that there's probably a lot of different practices. There's not a one size fits all approach to Pollenizer deployment, but it this leads me into the next question is the growers are clearly conscious of their pollination needs because they're laying physically laying it out in their orchards.

[00:04:42] But. Turn the question towards what growers thoughts are on the insects that actually moved the pollen in Belgium? It seems like there's a wider array of bees that are used manage bees that are used for pollination. And I just want to see paint that picture for us a little bit about the different bees that are used in Belgium and rowers consciousness of their contribution to fruit set kneeled.

[00:05:06] Maxime Eeraerts: All growers in Belgium with whom I worked with and also more or less all growers in Europe that does have sweet cherry. They apply honey bees in their in their orchards during gloom, but there's a very gracefully ability regarding the stocking density. So some growers only put one hive per Hector some even go up to 10 and also regarding price.

[00:05:31] Oh, the honey bees. There's a very, yeah, the diversity is very big. Some stuff and growers get their honeybees for free. For instance, while some have to pay a hundred euros for a bird. Really, so that's interesting to note and then concerning other beads, it's like bumblebees and Mason bees, which you can also manage.

[00:05:54] Or rent or buy to pollinate the bumblebees like Boomi Stressless. The commercial species is that this real Dan sold by Biosyn corporate. It's clear that the last five or six years at that implementation of commercial bumblebees in suturae has changed priest. Really? Yes, this is I think. At this moment in time, 20% of the fields on the cherry orchards are a stock to meet weed bumblebees.

[00:06:30] Of course, this is very expensive. And regarding the Mason bees implementation is more limited, but there's a great interest. Discerning those Mason bees, the main implementation book. Nick of course is how do you effectively manage these things? Where do you acquire them? You can also rent them or buy them, but then it's again, very expensive.

[00:06:56] And then you also have, of course the the native pollinators, the native lawn will be greens. And definitely an important group are the ground nesting solitary bees. They are very much underestimated or go on notice by growers. These of course are species, which are very, it's more difficult to identify a ground nesting, solitary bee, or distinguished ground nesting solidarity from a honeybee.

[00:07:26] Distinguish a bumblebee queen or a bumblebee worker for instance, or a Mason bee. But honesty in solitary bees like mining bees, for instance, they are very, they can be very abundant in cherry orchards and they are similar characteristics to Mason bees. They are very efficient to, and Nate's sweet Sherry and other tree food crops.

[00:07:52] They also forge close to their nests and they, depending on the species, they also forge when weather is optimal and they really contribute significantly who to see cherry pollination and see cherry yields. If they are present in the orchard. Now

[00:08:12] Andony Melathopoulos: you've done some surveys of Belgian growers.

[00:08:15] And do they have a sense of this varying efficacy? Cause I know it must be hard to enter, to make the case for other bees when honey bees are so abundant, you see them on every flower and you may have another species that's very efficient, the growers may not see them. They maybe working up high, there may be very fast.

[00:08:34] Do you have a sense of their consciousness of this kind of biological? Asymmetry between honeybees and other species in terms of their abundance and efficacy.

[00:08:46] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah. If first of all, it depends on from growth grower. And second, I think the awareness has definitely been increasing the last couple of years.

[00:09:02] In Belgium, that might also be because I did a lot of research in cherry and we communicated our results and our results center during study days and via grower articles. But it's definitely still see that they underestimate the ground nesting bees, for instance, it's also very difficult to see them.

[00:09:26] Compared to two bumblebees.

[00:09:28] Andony Melathopoulos: Huh, that's really interesting. I think that's the education piece of just familiarizing growers with some basic biology and where these bees live can pay these dividends. That's an excellent example from Belgium. And I guess I want to transition now just to thinking about where those bees are going.

[00:09:45] Clearly, many of the bees are visiting. Trees. It's a very open flower. Many generalist species will visit and reap the rewards, the abundant nectar, and pollen that comes off of cherries. But I know you've also done research, looking at how these different bees will use the landscape and, not only surrounding landscape, you, I can imagine.

[00:10:07] Both agri environmental schemes, like hedge rows, but also wild land. But in addition to the plants that are growing in the orchard themselves, the orchard floor can often have an abundance of different flower species like dandelion and daisies and Clover. So tell us a little bit about what you found in terms of where these, how these different bees use this landscape.

[00:10:28] And what growers need to know about that.

[00:10:30] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah, it's a it's for this, to answer this question, it's important to note that's about solitary bees, bumblebees and honeybees, the lifespan of the light or the lifecycle in a year spans longer than the blooming periods of or another crop. Even if you take into account a different flowering periods of sequentially, flowering, cultivars of the same crop the lifespan definitely Starts earlier and ends later and those flowering periods.

[00:11:02] So it's important to have floral resources before and after flowering, the flowering periods of the crop. So that was a bit The initial thinking and that's for the, this study to go and look into the landscapes and also into the orchards. What's what can we find or what can be signs that is of interest before and after security, flowering.

[00:11:28] And here we found very interesting results that's yeah, it's also very obvious, of course. Native vegetation like

[00:11:36] then they provide a lot of floral resources from the start until the end of the season which are used to boat by honey bees bumbled the solitary, these Mason bees. But also hover flies. So you find it dos see cherry pollinators in those habitat elements foraging on a lot of trees, shrubs, and also herbs.

[00:12:06] And then in addition to those landscape elements, we also saw that the herbacious vegetation or the grass strips in the alleyways of the orchards, that they also provide a level of. Interesting plants or be, or attractive plants like dandelion but white Clover. And that also saw the dent, a lot of the key bull natives for sea cherry and obviously also for apple and other crops that they use or forage on those flowers.

[00:12:40] So in this way, you can also include that. The vegetation in elevates can provide a valuable floor resource before and after, and also during flowering of the crop. And based on these datasets, we can then propose plant species that are highly attractive for base and that's flower before or after the crop like willows or heartens.

[00:13:06] We can Yeah, we can propose or advise those plans to be incorporated into patches or had SROs or similar plantings that the growers or other stakeholders or planning and benefit these in general, but also they benefit people nature's of crops like sweet cherry

[00:13:27] Andony Melathopoulos: Is there is there I know that we'll talk, we'll come around to this in a minute.

[00:13:32] You're working currently in blueberries in the Pacific Northwest, but I imagine. That bloom on the shoulders of the bloom of the crop is very good. It would bring pollinators into the system they nest, they would then pollinate the crop. And then afterwards, as you explained, or, for something like a social, be like a bumblebee or a bee that hasn't quite finished, your reproduction, having bloom after the crop will allow it to maximize this reproduction.

[00:13:58] Presumably over time, they'd be more pollinators in that landscape. But what about the bloom that occurs coincidentally with the cherry? Is there any evidence that from your work that the bees would be drawn away from pollinating the cherry?

[00:14:13] Maxime Eeraerts: We also looked at that have you actually found a bulleted things or shirts with more flowering?

[00:14:21] Then the lines or buttercups or daisies during the sweet cherry bloom and more native? A native pollinator swell pollinators like bumblebees and solitary bees on the see cherry blossom. Every, sorry, clearly we've been clear. So a gradient of orchards without. Dose flowering, herbs and orchards with a loss of those flowering herbs.

[00:14:48] And that gradient was not correlated to the creation of native vegetation in the landscape. So it's an additive effect, huh? Above the landscape. And these findings have also IBDs results or conclusions. Several also been detected in a sweet cherry study in Germany. I also saw some data of C cherry in Australia that, that found that those scope flowering herbacious plant species, these have a facilitating effects on.

[00:15:22] Diversity and abundance of bees on the crop. And so they infected the effect on yield has not been shown yet, but you would say that it's there definitely won't be a negative effect or a competition effect on all the studies that's in cherry. And also based on the studies, there are a couple in apple, a couple of in some annual crops.

[00:15:48] That dad found similar results. Some studies that study this aspects found no effect, but there are no studies who might acknowledge that detect negative effect.

[00:16:02] Andony Melathopoulos: I was thinking a very similar thing has been found in a, a related species is a big pollination crop here. And In the United States and also in places like Turkey and Spain is almonds that there appears to be you can plant brassicas alongside the crop and that doesn't seem to take the bees away and back.

[00:16:19] In some cases there appears to be the positive effect.

[00:16:23] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I think elements are not ever, never seen all or turrets in the us, but if you see the pictures and the documentaries. Are almost most of the time are completely, their herbacious vegetation is completely removed. So yeah, these, most of the time require multiple resources or benefits from multiple resources that's and that would, it would seem logical that those studies.

[00:17:03] In almonds would find a similar results.

[00:17:08] Andony Melathopoulos: Fantastic. Let's take a quick break. I want to come back and ask you about the orchard bees. There's a lot of interest in the Pacific Northwest on orchard bees, and you have experience with them in in Belgium, different species, but some neat management principles.

[00:17:24] So let's take a break and I want to ask you some questions about us. Okay. There is a lot of interest in the Pacific Northwest about using blue orchard bees. Many people are using them in their backyards, but there is, there have been studies. USDA is leading them inched in sweet cherries. And there's a closely, there's a close relative to the, you were working with a close relative to the species we use here.

[00:17:49] Oz meal ignition. The species that I understand that you studied or is being used in sweet cherry and Europe is Osmium Cornetta. Can you tell us about your discovery about how to improve Osmium cornu does health specifically around looking at nesting material? I think there's some lessons here to be learned for the Pacific Northwest.

[00:18:08] So walk us through that work.

[00:18:10] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah. Yeah, there are differently if the study is very interesting And we study it's multiple questions and multiple topics about boot rereading methods and the health or the vitality of the, of that offspring Mason bees. Mason bees of course are very good boy for all three food crops.

[00:18:34] So it's definitely also relevant for your region. And the Dean, the main question that we asked were what's the influence of different types of nesting material, because there are a lot of nesting materials that are out there that are suitable for raving and implementing Mason bees wooden groove boards bamboo baby straws, cardboard tubes styrofoam Yeah.

[00:19:02] Even styrofoam, I think. And

[00:19:04] Andony Melathopoulos: Yeah, I've seen it. I've got a shelf in my office with all of these materials. Everybody's tried everything. Yeah, for sure.

[00:19:13] Maxime Eeraerts: And everyone is convinced that this is the best, that's the best material. And I think, yeah, every material works and everything material will have its benefits.

[00:19:24] Then we also looked at it. The diming of parasite infestation. And we also looked at the influence of landscape structure on parasite, infestation, and vitality of the offspring. And the first important finding of this study is that I, to cardboard jokes, sweet wood and groove boards. So the wooden groove boards you stack, and then you get a block of food and groove boards that you can open and you can clean them out.

[00:19:53] Assumed to be necessary to clean the cocoons and the NES in order to reduce parasites or to control parasites. So first important finding is when comparing cardboard tubes and wooden groove board was I wouldn't groove boards was that the cardboard tubes clearly have a lower reduction of mighty infestation.

[00:20:17] Which is very interesting because cleaning out cardboard cleaning out the wooden groove boards is a lot of work and it's not bullet proof and you have to watch the goons, but you, yeah, you clearly reduce the mighty infestation a lot, like 80% of the mighty infestation. It's

[00:20:37] Andony Melathopoulos: reduced, when I think about it, those tubes, the mites, I imagine the bees bring them in, but once a cell, these pollen mites invade a cell that they could find a crack and just crawl to an adjacent cell.

[00:20:49] Is that the thinking with these wooden blocks, that there's all these cracks that the mites can disperse

[00:20:55] Maxime Eeraerts: and it's great. Stay there are very tiny. And when they find a little crack or a little hole, they can easily just go for it. From brute cell to sell and then start consuming Bullen. And in the Garbo tubes, that's probably the mechanism whereby they are stuck.

[00:21:15] If the bees bring them in, they're in a certain cell and the bees, they make very good construction in between cells outfits. So they, then they make a wall out of humans in between each root cell. And these. They probably, because they are the bees also naturally nest in round cavities.

[00:21:36] The bees probably are more accustomed to feeling and completing a wall in the round cavity and making it really sealed or concealed compared to the wooden group board. So you always have these tiny cracks and corners. So yeah, that interesting material clearly has an influence on parasite infestation, mainly reducing the mites which is in our region.

[00:22:07] That's this, I think number one, parasites in a ultimatum. Definitely. When you consider the abundance in the brood cells,

[00:22:20] Andony Melathopoulos: it would be the same here. Same in here in Oregon. I think a pollen mites are the number one problem that many people deal with.

[00:22:28] Maxime Eeraerts: So that's an interesting finding. And the second part of the study, where we looked at when our brood cells infested and took.

[00:22:41] We took samples in the beginning. I just five right before cherry blue, two times during cherry bloom, one time after cherry bloom. And then we clearly saw that you have these fruit flies, which also eat the bone and you also have other parasites, like wasps. And flies steps. That's eat the brute, the bees.

[00:23:08] And we found that when you, that the parasite infestation of those fruit flies increased with time. So the bear at the interpretation of the fruit flies clearly is a lot higher after blue. Oh, I see where this is interesting that if you would close the nests, for instance, in sweet cherry cultivation, after straight security blue, that you would reduce infestation of those food flies in your.

[00:23:38] Mason bee, really?

[00:23:40] Andony Melathopoulos: So let me go. So it sounds like what happens is that as time goes on, the parasite populations get larger and the opportunity for, and then they they find the nests of if you've, if for some way you were able to pull them out of cherries early, or just after pedal bloom, you would reduce the LA level of parasitism.

[00:24:01] Is that right? Yeah.

[00:24:05] Maxime Eeraerts: And the same goes for the proportion of females, the proportion of females in the brood cells. So in each brood cell, you have one cocoon, one larva that spins a goon and becomes an NLP. And the proportion of females also clearly is reduced at the end of blue. So by taking out dentists or closing the entrances of Dennis.

[00:24:31] After bloom, you would decrease the food fry infestation, and you will also have a sufficient of female offspring because most of those females being have been Have been produced by the time

[00:24:46] Andony Melathopoulos: I see. So the idea here would be that if you want left them in the orchard to keep reproducing, so clearly the Osmium could go a little bit longer, but if you left them in the orchard for a little bit longer, not only would they not produce very many more females because they've switched their as people know the last couple cells in the tube or males, they would just produce males.

[00:25:09] Don't conduct the pollination. And so the producer of the bees wouldn't see a huge benefit from leaving them later, but the costs would be that they would get high levels of predation and ah, what a great finding. So the leading to a recommendation, I imagine once the pedals have dropped to bring those to close those those boxes up.

[00:25:31] Maxime Eeraerts: And if you do that, speak to big cardboard tubes or bamboo or something similar with the round cavity, you'll probably reduce infestation of your mice infestation of your food flies. We did not see an effect of the wasps or other parasites because the numbers were too low. And that's an important issue for yeah.

[00:25:55] Future research, of course. It seems a bit surprising. Normally you would have more parasites than just the fruit flies. Yeah. Closing the nest also. It's it's it's you have sufficient female offspring by that time. Anyway. And another finding was when we looked at the landscape, we, the maps, the amount of native vegetation.

[00:26:23] We saw that we decreasing proportion of natural habitat like hedgerows and forest edges for an implant that you get also an increasing proportion of females in the brood cells. So that's an extra recommendation to provide some based on. One of the previous question, like the willows and the outdoors, which are very attractive and beneficial for all natives and also for Mason bees, that if you provide those resources closed by the orchards in a handrail or in solitary tree of solitary shrimp at these plants also improve ratio of females in your nesting box.

[00:27:15] Andony Melathopoulos: That reminds me of an episode we had with Lyla Westreich from the university of Washington and graduate student there, who we do need to catch up with. But she pointed out that if you look at the pollen provisions for a lot of Osmium McNair area in Western Washington, there was a lot of Willow, not a rosacea plant.

[00:27:30] Everybody thinks, oh, plums, cherries, apples. These bees will are generalists and the go to a lot of different plants. The other thing that occurs to me is that these using Mason bees in these orchards can be a good metric for how other solitary bees are doing because they are, if they have high reproductive success that probably translates to other solitary bees that are, have, similar phonology to the Mason bees seems like an excellent tool for asking those kinds of questions.

[00:28:01] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah, it's also very important to know that this is,

[00:28:06] I think the results that we found in this study are very specific protocols in Akron Nuta and C cherry in Belgium or Europe. Yeah. And for another species like area or in Washington or Oregon. I think it would be very interesting to see if those patterns similar the buttons that emerge are similar.

[00:28:30] And also, yeah, I, it would be also interesting to see if these patterns are that they show that they keep on showing year after year. If you'll follow up these formulations, let's say four or five years, for instance,

[00:28:50] Andony Melathopoulos: I think that's a great prompt and a reminder to me to reach out to Dr.

[00:28:54] Lindsay McKay, but the U S T 11, Logan, Utah. We need to have her on the show. Cause I know she's been doing trials on sweet cherry in. In the Pacific Northwest, and it's a great opportunity to catch up with her, but before we I want to just quickly transition off. I we're going to have Dr. Lisa de Vetter on the show to talk about a new USDA project to develop a pollination planner.

[00:29:16] For blueberry growers. I know that you're working on this right now. This is you've transitioned off sweet cherries and you're starting to work on blueberries and then you're probably starting to crunch data. It can just tell us briefly about this project and your your role in it.

[00:29:32] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah.

[00:29:32] Yeah, the project has multiple work packages. Of course the first group packages is the one I'm involved in the most. And here the major questions are more or less honeybee related. And we will investigate to what the influence is of high stocking density or fields on boats, honeybee, visitation, and also blueberry yields.

[00:29:58] In addition, we will also studied increments of hive, placements of honeybees. On both tiny visitation and blueberry. So it hides placement. We have, you mean that's the honey bee HIEs are either placed along the most idea that they're either dispersed along the rows of the blueberries or that the hives are plumped in big drop zones in the corner, or next to the field.

[00:30:32] And we also studied influence of these high placement, so dispersed or on pesticide exposure or the honey bees. So these are the main questions of the first year, which are in a study in four states, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and Michigan. And my role mainly is to coordinate and execute the field work and collect data for Washington.

[00:30:57] 2021. And also to analyze the data of the first year or the first of the four different states of these, of this work

[00:31:08] Andony Melathopoulos: package. I imagine you have a, your computer is full of data.

[00:31:13] Sounds like a huge and exciting project. So I look forward to talking with Dr. more about this project. Hopefully I think we'll be doing that next week. But with that, let's take a quick break. I have these questions. I ask all my guests. I have them. I've never had a Belgian on the show. So I'm curious how it's going to turn out.

[00:31:32] Okay. Back. First question, do you have a book recommendation for our listeners?

[00:31:38] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah, I think in general I would recommend all of the Fulson his books. He's a professor from the UK who specializes in bumblebee biology, bumblebee, ecology, also nation. And also, yeah, of course, the diversity of bees in general.

[00:31:59] And the last couple of years he has written. I think now six popular books which compile and presents a lot of scientific information on the ecology. She and the fascination. I had a fascinating world of insects and pollinators. And what are the main problems are that they are facing? And what's the main, what the solutions are and they are, he compiles a lot of information.

[00:32:36] It's really, well-written really understandable. It's a joy to read.

[00:32:39] Andony Melathopoulos: He it's, yeah, it's got a good narrative flare. Like these are books with a lot of information, but they're also written so that you could sit down and with a nice drink and in your armchair and read it.

[00:32:52] Great. Great recommendation. Thank you so much, Dave. Gilson's Uber,

[00:32:57] everything with Dave Wilson. Okay. That's a great recommendation. So the next question I have for you is do you have a go-to tool? And I imagine you sound like a very, you sound like the, I was going to say Swiss army knife, but maybe the Belgium army knife of pollination ecologists. You have. Wide range of questions and from very practical to landscape.

[00:33:18] But is there a tool and doing all that, that you find indispensable?

[00:33:22] Maxime Eeraerts: I think the solitary Venus. Actually because they can be used for very fundamental questions about the ecology and landscape ecology and how that landscape and farmer practices influence be held and be abundance and diversity.

[00:33:40] They can like, like we spoke about the Mason bees and how to build them and efficiently control parasites. They can also be. We're very applied questions. So yeah it's a very good tool. Yeah. Because you can also use them in just orchards, but then every agricultural setting with also in any natural settings and I, yeah, I fuse them a lot and I've benefited from that's a lot, like gaining knowledge about parasites and about landscape.

[00:34:15] Andony Melathopoulos: It's so useful because I think a lot of times when we're doing native bee studies, especially in commercial crops, we look at abundance. So we don't know anything about whether they did well or whether they were heavily Paris. We don't know the reproductive output. And I guess by having these in studies, we have a colleague of ours who uses them and, to assess the impacts of forest burns on pollinators, he can actually measure recruitment over time.

[00:34:39] It's it's a powerful being able to do that kind of.

[00:34:42] Maxime Eeraerts: Is it the study of gold braid?

[00:34:45] Andony Melathopoulos: Yes, that's right.

[00:34:49] Maxime Eeraerts: It's on my list to read.

[00:34:51] Andony Melathopoulos: You just need to listen to the podcast,

[00:34:54] read the papers too. A lot of work there at the at the the forest animal for forest ecology lab, they've done. It's a really remarkable piece of work, but I've seen other people use these solitary bees as measures of things in the way that you have. And. But I guess the, the trick of it is, sometimes when you're using a methodology like this, you have to learn it.

[00:35:16] And I guess learning Mason filter is such a key part of being able to use this tool.

[00:35:22] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah. Yeah. It's step by step you go. And now you're learning. It's not that difficult. You just need to have a really, I have a person that is really. Handy and makes them for you a guess and they need to be constructed to very real.

[00:35:43] So that's an important aspect.

[00:35:48] Andony Melathopoulos: I think that's true. And I think for a lot of people who've done research here reaching out to the Mason bee community for tips and tricks and how to get things up and running have been key. I this begs is the last question. I don't know if you're going to, do you have a pollinating species that you really adore more than above all?

[00:36:06] Maxime Eeraerts: I thought about this a lot and I actually, I am changing the question and two favorite crop is actually an old of these specialists. I more or less, I use it to infer how to optimize yields. And I think as we cherry obviously is my favorite crop to work in because it also, it provides an abundance of, and a diversity of bees and other insects with resources.

[00:36:38] So every year it's that I assembled or see cherry, I found new bees and new hover flies and new. Yeah, all the things everyday and every year is a new

[00:36:50] Andony Melathopoulos: adventure. I love it. That answer because it strikes me that one way to learn, is to just, or just pollinators in general is to learn them.

[00:37:01] But when you have a focal plant, a plant that you watch every year and you watch the patterns, I think you get a little bit of life history out of it at the same time. It's not just. A stamp

[00:37:13] Maxime Eeraerts: and the cool thing is see Terry also extra floral nectaries on the Leafs. So you can go after, after the crop has flowered four weeks after that, you could go again and see what species visits those rural nectaries a lot.

[00:37:31] The diversity is a lot less, but they like the Corby color socialists. They collect this ready? Exited or I didn't know how

[00:37:40] Andony Melathopoulos: it's going. Yeah, I don't know. Yeah, it wouldn't be nectar, but it would be it's sweet.

[00:37:46] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah.

[00:37:47] Andony Melathopoulos: oh, they do.

[00:37:49] We've seen it in sweet and sweet tearing the Dalles. We see it for maybe a week after the pedal drop they're active. And then it seems to, I've never seen them collect it. In their curriculum, I'm going to, I'm going to

[00:38:01] fantastic. Listeners in your cherries, you're now been challenged by Dr. Rats. So see if you can see this reddish material being collected in the curricula of the honey bees and and enjoy your cherries. Cause it's a great crop to see bees. Yes for sure. Thanks so much for taking time and good luck with all your blueberry research.

[00:38:23] We look forward to hearing back in the future, how that goes.

[00:38:27] Maxime Eeraerts: Yeah, likewise very much. Very big. Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure.

Bees are key pollinators of sweet cherry. This week we hear about research from Belgium on using other managed bee species to pollinate this crop (other than honey bees), the influence of encouraging pollinator habitat, as well as tips on keeping managed mason bees healthy and happy during cherry pollination.

Dr. Maxime Eeraerts is from Belgium, the heart of Europe. At Ghent University he obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree of Bioscience Engineering in Forest and Nature Management in 2013 and a Master’s degree in Environmental Sanitation and Environmental Management in 2014. After this he worked on multiple projects about applied entomology in fruit cultivation, landscape ecology and ecotoxicological studies focused on wild bees. In 2020, he obtained a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences at Ghent University. In this PhD project he studied how landscape structure and the diversity of pollinating insects mediate crop pollination in sweet cherry orchards. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Lisa DeVetter’s lab working on blueberry pollination. He is also fascinated by the outdoors, likes sports and to cook, plant trees and grow shiitake mushrooms in the forest.

Links Mentioned:

Eeraerts, M., Clymans, R., Van Kerckvoorde, V. and Beliën, T., 2022. Nesting material, phenology and landscape complexity influence nesting success and parasite infestation of a trap nesting bee. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 332, p.107951.

Eeraerts, M., Van Den Berge, S., Proesmans, W., Verheyen, K., Smagghe, G. and Meeus, I., 2021. Fruit orchards and woody semi-natural habitat provide complementary resources for pollinators in agricultural landscapes. Landscape Ecology, 36(5), pp.1377-1390.

Eeraerts, M., Piot, N., Pisman, M., Claus, G., Meeus, I. and Smagghe, G., 2021. Landscapes with high amounts of mass-flowering fruit crops reduce the reproduction of two solitary bees. Basic and Applied Ecology, 56, pp.122-131.

Eeraerts, M., Vanderhaegen, R., Smagghe, G. and Meeus, I., 2020. Pollination efficiency and foraging behaviour of honey bees and non‐Apis bees to sweet cherry. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 22(1), pp.75-82.

Eeraerts, M., Smagghe, G. and Meeus, I., 2020. Bumble bee abundance and richness improves honey bee pollination behaviour in sweet cherry. Basic and Applied Ecology, 43, pp.27-33.

Eeraerts, M., Smagghe, G. and Meeus, I., 2019. Pollinator diversity, floral resources and semi-natural habitat, instead of honey bees and intensive agriculture, enhance pollination service to sweet cherry. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 284, p.106586.

VIDEO: Nesting material, phenology and landscape complexity influence nesting success and parasite infestation of a trap nesting bee (October 2021)

Follow Dr. Eeraerts on social media:

Book Recommendation:

The collected works of Dave Goulson

Go To Tool:

Managed solitary bees as indicators of environmental quality

Favorite Pollinator:

The bees of sweet cherry

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