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WSU Scientists, Farmers Testing Out New Bee Goo To Pollinate Fruit Trees

Anna King
Northwest News Network
Matt Whiting, a scientist with Washington State University, is studying how a liquid with pollen suspended in it might replace bees in orchards during the spring time.

With climate change and the decline of honey bees, Northwest farmers are looking for more reliable ways to pollinate cherry and apple trees.

Washington State University scientist Matt Whiting recently sprayed “bee goo” on rows of tightly-trellised cherry trees north of Pasco, Washington.?

Bee goo is tree pollen kept suspended and alive in a proprietary liquid. The viscous droplets are slightly charged when they leave the tractor sprayer so the goo sticks better to the pin-head-sized stigmas -- the blooms’ receptors. ?

“If you were to add a few additional pounds per tree of fruit in here, the potential returns would be tremendous,” Whiting said.

The science team will have to wait until early June to count cherries and find out how they did.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.