"Buzz" Pollinators

May 1, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Tomatoes  need movement for pollination. Their pollen containing anthers have slits or pores in them and release the pollen  then stimulated by wind or vibrations. As wind moves the flowers the pollen is released and falls on the female stigma. The best insect pollinators are not honey bees but bumble bees and carpenter bees. These insects which have super strong chest muscles,frequently visit flowers in the nightshade family. Using a technique called buzz pollination, they hold onto the flower with their jaws and with their wings in a resting position powerfully vibrate their flight muscles, up to one hundred ninety times a second. The pollen rains down on the stigma and the bees. The female flowers get pollinated and the bees take collected pollen back to their colony for food. Buzz pollinated fruits are usually larger than ones   pollinated by wind alone.