Pollinating insects sometimes strike at right time

Question: We have small butterflies on our plum tree. There are hundreds of them. Are they pollinating our trees? The bees were here, but these have taken over.

I have seen this before a few years back in our orchard as well, and they can do a lot of pollinating when it happens. It normally does not last very long. The development of the adult butterfly must correspond to the opening of flowers that require insect pollination. In some years, like now, butterfly development is perfectly coordinated with certain varieties of fruit trees. Pollinating insects can include bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies and other insects. By far, the most consistent pollinators are our bees, specifically, the domesticated honeybee.

Bob Morris is a professor emeritus in horticulture with the University of Nevada and can be reached at Visit his blog at

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