Do Bees Pollinate Olive Trees?

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Bees pollinate all kinds of trees, and in this post, I’ll show you if bees also pollinate olive trees and if they even help with the pollination.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bees don’t usually pollinate olive trees.
  • Bees aren’t attracted to olive trees too much because olive tree flowers are poor with nectars.
  • Olive trees are mainly pollinated by wind, and most olive tree species are self-pollinating, meaning that they don’t need external pollinators.
  • Bees, however, can improve the pollination of olive trees, which is why most olive growers like seeing bees in their groves.

Do Bees Pollinate Olive Trees?

bees in olive grove

The short answer is no, bees do not pollinate olive trees.

Olive trees are usually pollinated by wind and not by bees. Olive tree blossoms have small sizes and do not offer plenty of nectar or pollen to bees, but they can be visited by bees in search of water or residual nectar in flowers. In fact, olive trees are grown in areas where it does not rain during the flowering period.

With that said, olive trees and their flowers aren’t usually attractive to bees. However, if bees lack food, they might end up flying around olive orchards in search of food and water.

However, even though bees usually don’t pollinate olive trees, they could potentially do that. Many olive growers like to see bees inside the olive farm since bees may improve olive tree pollination.

What Kind Of Flowers Do Bees Like?

Most flowers are compatible with bees, but some are more attractive than others. The color of the petals is important because it indicates the type of pollen and nectar produced inside.

Bees like blue, yellow, and purple flowers the most. Some examples are lavender, clematis, and sunflowers. Bees like these colors because they are rich in nectar. The nectar is sweet, sticky, and full of nutrients. These nutrients are important because they help the bees make honey!

In general, bees prefer a diversity of flower types because different flowers provide different sources of nectar and pollen. Nectar is the main source of carbohydrates for bees. Pollen is the main source of fat and protein in a bee’s diet.

Olive Trees Are Pollinated By Wind

Olive trees are wind-pollinated, which means that no insects are needed to carry the pollen from flower to flower. It’s carried in the air and then settles on the flowers where it’s supposed to go.

What wind is best for olive trees? In general, soft breezes are helpful, but if there are high winds during bloom, they can tear off the petals before they’re fertilized.

Related: When Do Olive Trees Bloom

Some olive species, such as Arbequina, are self-pollinating, which means they can fertilize themselves. However, it helps if there are more trees.

Honey Bees Sometimes Visit Olive Farms

close shot of a single honey bee

When it comes to honey bees, olive orchards are not the first place that people would think of. Olive trees don’t produce nectar like other flowering plants, so most of the time, honey bees will pass them by in search of something more sugary.

However, sometimes, if they lack food and water, you can expect honey bees to visit olive orchards for a few days. That’s completely normal. In fact, it’s happening more frequently in the last few years.

I spoke to a few olive growers, and all of them wished that they had more bees during the olive tree pollinating season. They could improve the olive tree pollination. So, hopefully, we’ll see more bees around olive trees in the future.

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