Mosquitoes and Blueberries


     There are some things I haven’t spent much time thinking about.  One of those things is which insects pollinate blueberries.   I’ve always been told black flies are responsible for our bumper blueberry crops and this has helped me to be able to tolerate their annoying presence. I assumed bees did their part in pollinating blueberries and I was right.

"Bumblebees and a number of diverse nonsocial native bees in both North America and Europe are effective pollinators of various blueberries."  USDA

     We pride ourselves on the blueberries we have on the Gunflint Trail.  With recent fires we’ve had some of the best blueberry picking imagineable.  The BWCA has millions of blueberries too and this year will be no exception.  I’ve seen blueberry bushes filled with flowers and the recent rain we have received will only help ripen them quicker.  I won’t be surprised if we’re eating blueberries by the Fourth of July and all of the way through to October this year.  That’s why I was surprised when I read this in an article by Bill McAuliffe in the Star Trib. 

"In the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, where rainfall since mid-March has been near once-every-20-years lows, Gunflint Northwoods Outfitters owner Bruce Kerfoot said this year’s blueberry crop will be a failure. "But the plus side: no mosquitoes," he said."

     I know people can be misquoted but what a ridiculous thing for the Star Trib to leave in the article.  The article was about  the fact there are fewer mosquitoes out this summer but that certainly doesn’t mean we’ll have fewer blueberries than normal. 

     Let the news be good news!  We have very few mosquitoes and we’ll still have tons of blueberries in the Boundary Waters, on the Gunflint Trail and in my backyard at Voyageur.

Bees purposefully collect pollen to feed on its rich protein, but a variety of creatures participate in the pollination parade. Butterflies, moths, wasps, flies, ants, bats, hummingbirds, and yes, mosquitoes, play a role in plant pollination, though they do not feed on pollen. Brian DeVore