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Influx of bees could kickstart cranberry crop

Researchers aim to attract wild bees to pollinate cranberry fields

Influx of bees could kickstart cranberry crop

TOMAH, Wis. (WKBT) - An influx of wild bees could be just what the Wisconsin cranberry crop is looking for.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are trying to figure out a way to pollinate the cranberries.

Right now, many of the growers rent honeybee colonies, but that population is collapsing. The researchers want to attract wild bees to the fields instead, and hope they can pollinate about half of the fields.

"Renting honeybee hives is one of our largest costs we have, so any way we can attract native pollinators is going to be a benefit to us," said Edward Gryglski, owner and president of Valley Corp. "They do a better job pollinating than honeybees, too."

There are some concerns about the plan, however. Cranberries don't put off a lot of nectar, so it's hard to get bees into the fields. Growers are also worried that new plants attracting those bees may bring weeds with them.

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