In order to duplicate bee activity and become the pollinator, it helps to understand what needs to happen. The pollen, which is located on the anthers, needs to move to the stigma. Bees do this naturally as they move around each flower collecting nectar. The anthers and stigma are illustrated in the drawing below from the American Museum of Natural History.
Here's a picture of a Mexican lime blooming in my greenhouse today. It's anthers are laden with pollen and the stigma is sitting in the middle of the flower waiting for the pollen to arrive.
While most citrus is self-pollinating, I like to increase pollination by placing my plants outside for the bees to visit. Considering we've just had a cold front roll into town, this is not practical. I think I'll leave my citrus in the greenhouse and try my hand at some manual pollination.
I'm using a small paint brush to pollinate, but you can use a cotton swab, a pencil eraser, or even your finger among other things. The idea is to visit each flower touching both the anthers and the stigma with each visit.
Be the Bee. Funny, after just a few flowers, I'm already worn out and little bored. How do bees do it?
The ovaries of the pollinated flowers swell to produce fruit. This Mexican lime was a heavy producer last year and looks like it's already on it's way to producing lots of fruit again.
Try your hand pollinating some time. You will quickly come to appreciate bees. I sure do!