Apples are in bloom in the Mid-South. In order for the trees to produce fruit, they must be visited by insect pollinators. These may either be native insects or honey bees. The honey bee is the principal commercial pollinator of apples. This is due to the nature of the honey bee. They live in large colonies that can be transported to the orchard by truck in their wooden hives. Large numbers of bees are needed to pollinate large commercial plantings of apples. Also, honey bees exhibit flower constancy; that is, they continue to forage on the same type of plant as long as it is blooming. Flower constancy makes the honey bee an efficient pollinator of apples. By the honey bee staying in the apple trees collecting nectar or pollen, they transfer pollen from one flower to another. This transfer of pollen is a necessary step in the production of the fruit.
The apple is a member of the important family of bee plants, the roses. Other members of the rose family include the plum, pear, cherry, almond, blackberry, and the hawthorns. In the picture we can clearly see the resemblance of the apple flower to a rose. An apple tree covered with flowers and honey bees is a beautiful early spring sight.