With the help of the MN Department of Agriculture AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant and with the expertise of Dr. Thaddeus McCamant, we are conducting research on using Essential Oils as repellents for a new invasive fruit fly. The bushes at the end of the parking lots are divided into test plots. Some days we will be doing taste testing and looking for volunteers to participate!
Lori Bergmark, a local beekeeper, will be testing mason bee houses on our farm. In nature, mason bees nest in hollow plant stems and insect holes, but they will nest in man-made bee houses if you give them the right-sized holes in wood blocks or hollow tubes. The females live for about 6 weeks from mid-April to June. They are "solitary" meaning that every female works alone. She spends her day visiting flowers no more than 300 feet away, bringing pollen back to the nest where she packs the pollen into a ball and lays an egg on it. After laying the egg, she builds a mud wall (hence the mason bee name) and starts the process again, laying about 6-10 eggs per hole. Mason bees are amazing pollinators and with abundant pollen from our blueberry flowers and easy access to mud in our ponds, we hope the mason bees find our farm the perfect nesting spot. Come check out the mason bee houses when you pick blueberries this year!