Patent Number: 6364738
Docket Number: 13800
Serial Number: 9726873
Date Patented: 04/02/2002
Solitary Bee Nesting Block
ARS scientists have developed a durable nesting system that imitates the comforts of the blue orchard bee’s natural habitat. This development will allow farmers to tap into the benefits of this highly efficient agricultural pollinator. Blue orchard bees offer significant increases in pollination levels in orchard crops like cherries, apples, almonds and pears. Blue orchard bees have not been widely commercialized due to lack of a suitable nesting system to raise the bees. In nature, the bees build their nests in abandoned beetle burrows in timber and dead trees. Other commercially available nests are expensive to produce or less durable. This modular, lightweight plastic block provides about 49 7.5-millimeter holes on front and back. The blocks interlock so that orchard farmers can add as many blocks as they need--about 12 blocks per acre is sufficient for optimal pollination. This invention is affordable for small farmers.
This technology will give farmers an alternative to honey bees, whose commercial availability is declining due to increased management costs for controlling Varroa, trachael mites and Africanized honey bees–which are not a threat to blue orchard bees. Blue orchard bees can be used on their own or together with honey bees in the same orchard. Blue orchard bees don’t produce honey.
Please refer to Patent Number 6,364,738, "Solitary Bee Nesting Block," which issued on April 2, 2002.