5/21/2020: In our orchards the earlier-blooming varieties have opened their blossoms. Beautiful sights, beautiful scents, and beautiful buzzing fill the fields. Bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, even a few hummingbirds vibrate the air, along with plenty of smaller pollinators we can't hear.  All these bugs and birds dive into apple blossoms in their search for sweet nectar - nourishment for themselves and their young.

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With every nectar pickup, grains of pollen stick to the flier. Stop after stop, some pollen grains from earlier flowers will likely fall into later ones, while some new grains will be picked up. So nectar-gatherers gradually carry out each apple tree's reproduction scheme: every  well-pollinated* flower can form a fruit, centered on the seeds of - more apple trees!  Every living thing in the orchard - visible and invisible - is working to raise a next generation. They help each other and us without knowing it, as they help form a crop of apples. (*Virtually all those apples come from CROSS-pollination - one variety of pollen transferred to a different variety of bloom - so just try to imagine the cosmic number of bug-visits needed to make the quantities of apples we'd like to harvest...)

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Our beekeeper's hives are vibrating with traffic in and out. Of all pollinators, honeybees get the most attention and publicity.  But here - and most places - the less famous, more reliable pollinators are/should be the true native species. (Locally, for just one example, bumblebees work harder and longer in tougher weather than honeybees.) Many many other hyperactive fliers visit the blooms - identifying them all takes expertise we don't have.  But we want them all to survive, which gets harder and harder as development destroys habitat. For them we planted pollinator patches in the orchards. For pollinators world-wide, we hope farmers, businesses, governments and homeowners will till up big stretches of field, orchard, and lawn all over the planet - and plant shaggy, colorful pollinator zones!

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