Pollination Best Practices in Southern Highbush Blueberry in Florida
A close-up photo of Apis mellifera, the European honey bee on a branch with blueberry flowers.
view on EDIS

Supplementary Files

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5



How to Cite

Mallinger, Rachel, and Douglas A. Phillips. 2019. “Pollination Best Practices in Southern Highbush Blueberry in Florida: ENY-172/IN1237, 1/2019”. EDIS 2019 (1). Gainesville, FL. https://doi.org/10.32473/edis-in1237-2019.


Southern highbush blueberry is the primary blueberry species grown in Florida. It is dependent upon pollinating insects for adequate pollination and fruit. Some Florida growers have reported cases of low fruit set in recent years, in particular on the cultivars Meadowlark and Emerald, which may have been due in part to poor pollination. This 5-page fact sheet written by Rachel E. Mallinger and Douglas A. Phillips and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology will discuss blueberry pollinators, some causes of poor pollination, and current best practices to reduce the possibility of poor pollination of southern highbush blueberry.

view on EDIS


Benjamin, F., and R. Winfree. 2014. "Lack of pollinators limits fruit production in commercial blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)." Environmental Entomology 43(6):1574-1583. https://doi.org/10.1603/EN13314

Blaauw, B. R., and R. Isaacs. 2014. "Flower plantings increase wild bee abundance and the pollination services provided to a pollination-dependent crop." Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 890-898. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12257

Drummond, F. 2012. "Commercial bumble bee pollination of lowbush blueberry." International Journal of Fruit Science 12: 54-64. https://doi.org/10.1080/15538362.2011.619120

Isaacs, R., J. Gibbs, E. May, E. Hanson, and J. Hancock. 2016. "Invest in pollination for success with highbush blueberries." Michigan State University Extension.

Javorek, S. K., K. E. Mackenzie, and S. P. V. Kloet. 2002. "Comparative pollination effectiveness among bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) on lowbush blueberry (Ericaceae: Vaccinium angustifolium)." Ann Entomol Soc Am 95: 345-351. https://doi.org/10.1603/0013-8746(2002)095[0345:CPEABH]2.0.CO;2

Lyrene, P., and J. Williamson. 2003. "Blueberry fruit set as related to relative humidity in north central Florida in spring 2003." Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 116: 21-25.

Sampson, B. J., R. G. Danka, and S. J. Stringer. 2004. "Nectar robbery by bees Xylocopa virginica and Apis mellifera contributes to the pollination of rabbiteye blueberry." Journal of Economic Entomology 97: 735-740 https://doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493(2004)097[0735:NRBBXV]2.0.CO;2

Stubbs, C. S., and F. A. Drummond. 2001. "Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae): an alternative to Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) for lowbush blueberry pollination." Journal of Economic Entomology 94: 609-616 https://doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-94.3.609

Taber, S. K., and J. W. Olmstead. 2016. "Impact of cross- and self-pollination on fruit set, fruit size, seed number, and harvest timing among 13 southern highbush blueberry cultivars." HortTechnology 26(2): 213-219. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.26.2.213

Thorp, R. W. 2000. "The collection of pollen by bees." in: Dafni, A., M. Hesse, and E. Pacini, (Eds.), Pollen and Pollination. Springer Vienna, Vienna, pp. 211-223. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-7091-6306-1_11

Tuell, J., and R. Isaacs. 2010. "Weather during bloom affects pollination and yield of highbush blueberry." Journal of Economic Entomology 103(3):557-562. https://doi.org/10.1603/EC09387

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.