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Virginia State Horticultural Society Annual Meeting

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Hornfaced bees, Osmia cornifrons (Rad.), have been used in Japan for apple pollination for almost 60 years. An apple grower, E. Matsuyama, began the propagation and use of these bees in Aomori Prefecture, after he discovered them nesting in holes in his wooden house and pollinating the apple trees in his orchard. He encouraged other progressive growers to use hornfaced bees. After about 1965, Japanese research scientists studied the bees, and they developed methods to propagate large populations. They encouraged growers to use hornfaced bees to pollinate apples, pears, peaches, and plums. Hornfaced bees are the first species of bee in the world to be used commercially just for pollinating a crop. Although honey bees have been managed for honey production for centuries, their use specifically for crop pollination began after modem pesticides had decimated natural populations of native pollinators.

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