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Bees help make raspberries in Kenya

Dear All

A few days ago I visited a friend of mine who runs a farm on the outskirts of Nairobi. Su Kahumbu is an organic farmer who does amazing work with farmers across Kenya promoting sustainable agriculture and innovation…

Farmer Su Kahumbu with her raspberry bushes

One of the crops growing at her beautiful model farm are raspberries.

 

These delicious fruits are one of my favourite desserts… And of course in order to have raspberries on the table you need to have raspberry bushes. The raspberry bushes have flowers that need to be pollinated in order for the beautiful and yummy fruit to develop…

Raspberry flowers are composite flowers – which means that they are actually made up of many tiny individual flowers all joined together.

Freshly opened raspberry flower

In order for a flower to set fruit, it needs to be pollinated. On Su’s farm these free services are provided to her raspberry bushes by several different kinds of bees. One of the most common pollinators is the honeybee.

A honeybee grapples with a raspberry flower

The honeybees move swiftly between the flowers and visit in large numbers.

Honeybees drink nectar and gather pollen at the flowers

As these are composite flowers, every single tiny individual flower, called a floret, needs to be visited and gently dusted with pollen by a bee. Otherwise there will be no fruits produced.

Recently pollinated young raspberry fruits

Honeybees are not the only bees visiting the flowers. There are also some wild solitary bees. These are even more efficient in some cases as they spend longer times on the flowers and manipulate them more thoroughly. The quality, shape, flavour and size of the raspberry fruit are all directly tied to the efficiency of the pollinators. Too little pollen and the fruit is pale, small and not very sweet. It takes many visits by many bees to make a fruit round and sweet..

Solitary wild bee on raspberry flower

It is the actions of all these bees who make the delicious raspberries happen!

Yummy raspberry thanks to the hard-working bees!

Please think of the bees that put the food on your table next time you enjoy some raspberries for breakfast or dessert. More from the wonderful world of insects soon!

Comments

  1. wendy
    March 23, 4:25 pm

    I love Florida more than what I can say. I am crazy orange fans!

  2. steven mwanzia
    kiambu
    March 16, 2:02 pm

    If interested call because it had remained twenty raspberry plants ,deadline date 18/03/2014

  3. steven mwanzia
    kiambu
    March 10, 11:44 am

    Good job; I have raspberry plants each is 600ksh, if interested call me 0775114935 or email stevenmwanzia24@gmail.com

  4. Dorcas
    ngong
    January 22, 4:29 am

    I would like to grow the raspberries,currant…how can I get splits or seedlings

  5. Daniel Muturi
    Nairobi
    January 10, 10:43 am

    I lover Raspberries & Black berry fruits.

    Anybody knows where I can get cuttings in Nairobi?

  6. Nasi
    Nairobi
    June 28, 2013, 7:20 am

    Dear Mike & daniel,
    I am in Nairobi and would love to see your farms and borrow your ideas specially growing Raspberries and other fruits.

  7. Fruit Club
    FL
    June 17, 2013, 4:45 pm

    That is just beautiful, I could sit back with some fruit baskets and enjoy the scenery

  8. Nyambura
    Kiambu
    June 10, 2013, 3:50 am

    Good fruit.
    How can I get the raspberry cuttings?

  9. MIKE NJAU
    kiambu
    February 6, 2013, 7:56 am

    AM A STRAWBERRY FARMER IN NAIROBI, THIS GREAT WORK YOU ARE DOING. AM INTERESTED TO GROW RASPBERRIES, HOW CAN I GET THE SEED OR SEEDLINGS? 0722523368

  10. Daniel Muguko
    Kenya
    January 17, 2013, 2:53 am

    Hi,

    This is great. I am in Nairobi,where can i get Raspberry seedlings for planting?

    Please help

    Dan
    0722281679

  11. imelda
    mumias
    October 23, 2012, 1:34 am

    Hey Dino? i am an avid cultivator of fruit trees and am looking for the how of raising raspberries and gooseberries, including finding appropriate seed or cuttings. would u be so kind as to help me out? i see u move around a lot and i believe u are the person to plug this gap. i look forward to your kind assistance.

  12. james emojorho
    Lagos.Nigeria
    July 25, 2012, 6:48 am

    I saw a large collection of what looks like a female honey bee in a basket form in my compound. I am very scared that the bees may sting or bite my children. Although, I have about Ten different fruits or plants in my compound and several types of flower also. Please advise me on what to do because I intend to burn the bees.

  13. Libby Morgan
    Tucson, Arizona
    November 19, 2011, 4:17 pm

    very interesting article and bee-yooteeful photos. we love raspberries and were grateful to the bees for all the pollinating they do to help the farmers’ fruit crops grow.

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  15. pauline
    South Africa
    August 1, 2011, 1:56 pm

    No sunny day can be thoroughly enjoyed without the buzzing of the bees in the background. Dont swat bees love bees. They are working hard to make life on planet earth tasty and good. Do I ever remember tasty rasberries.

  16. [...] Bees help make raspberries in KenyaNational GeographicThese delicious fruits are one of my favourite desserts… And of course in order to have raspberries on the table you need to have raspberry bushes. The raspberry bushes have flowers that need to be pollinated in order for the beautiful and yummy fruit …and more » [...]