pollination

ngrrsn(7)July 26, 2012

I read that to attract bumble (and other) bees to your tomatoes to pollinate them, you can mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 gal of water and spray the tomatoes. I have two questions about this: 1. Wouldn't this attract pests as well? 2. When mixing for a humming bird feeder, to mimic natural necture the ratio is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water---isn't 1/2 cup to 1 gallon too weak to attract bees?

Thanks in advance

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

ng, you don't need to attract insect pollinators to your tomato blossoms b'c about 90% of the time when weather permits, the pollen present on the anthers of a blossom self pollenize the stigma of that same blossom.

Bumble bees and sweat bees and other insect pollinators aren't going to the tomato blossom for nectar b'c tomato blossoms don't have nectar. They go to harvest the pollen as protein food.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 2:15PM
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ngrrsn(7)

Oh! You have given a retired lazy man hope! I had read that while tomatoes are self fertilizing, that they were not true self pollinators and needed something to shake the pollen out to the stigma; and that in South America a specific tomato bee sets up a vibration that we try to mimic with vibrations such as from electric tooth brushes, shaking the plant, hoping for windy days, or attracting bumblebees. So, they recommended sugar water to attract them and said bumblebees do a better job than honey bees at this task. I would much rather let the tomato plants do the work themselves!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 2:38PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

When weather conditions are right for self pollenization usually that happens naturally, but yes, there are some who shake plants, some who use electric toothbrushes to help the pollen fall to the stigma and a few Iknow who have taken a broom to the plants and gently whaked them. But the effectiveness of those methods I think is called into question b'c there are no control plants ever used. ( wink)

But the fact is that as the bud matures to a blossom and the stigma starts to push up, it makes contact with the pollen bearing anthers usually before the blossom is even fully open.

No nectar in tomato blossoms so make some sugar water for the hummingbirds if you want to. ( smile)

Carolyn

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 6:07PM
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ngrrsn(7)

LOL! Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 6:14PM
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