POLSON — The bees are busy pollinating orchards on Flathead Lake as close to 500 acres of cherry trees are in full bloom.
“I mean every flower has to be touched by a bee,” Campbell Orchards Owner Brian Campbell told MTN News.
Campbell said beehives are rented from outfits in Polson and Arlee, supplying thousands of bees to each orchard.
“We always have to rent hives; all the orchardists do because there’s not enough wild bees or pollinators to do the job,” said Campbell.
Up to 700 hives are needed, roughly two per orchard for full pollination.
“If you have enough bees, they’ll do the job all easily in two days but if you don’t have enough bees and you only get one nice day you may have lost half a crop,” said Campbell.
Campbell said cherry trees blossomed a week earlier than normal this spring, which means the cherry crop will be a little earlier this summer.
“The earliest cherries would be the rainier’s and they will probably come in by July 20 is my guess with bloom on this date,” said Campbell.
This year’s blossoms were only hit by a couple of deep freezes during winter, which is a good sign for cherry lovers this summer.
“Now that they’re open you can see that they’re all viable flowers and that’s a good sign for a full crop,” Campbell tells MTN News.
Close to 1.2 million pounds of cherries were harvested from Flathead Lake orchards last summer.