Best and worst practices pollination bumblebees

Best practices

The performance of the bumblebees is very much related to the way the colonies are allocated in your crop or exposed to the environment in the greenhouse. The best practice advices of Koppert and her advisors are an important step towards hassle free pollination. Here you find some general advices. For more detailed advices check here or ask your local advisor. 

Climate of the environment

  • Ideal pollination temperature for bumblebees lays between 12-28 oC.
  • Place hives on the side were they get most shade during hot periods. For example in the shade of the plants clearly visual along the walkway below the leaves.
  • In winter it is better to place the hives above the crop.
  • Open colonies during the late afternoon or during the early morning in case of high temperatures or very bright  and intense sunlight.
  • Watch out for continuous high humidity (>80-85%) as a result of poor ventilation. 

Orientation

  • In case of more hives are placed on one location above each other, make sure the entrances are facing different directions.
  • It is advised to place new hives at a position closest to the isle/walkway. This helps the bumblebees finding back their hive more easy and reduces possible orientation problems.
  • The entrance to the hive must be clearly visible for the bumblebees.
  • Before opening the hives, let the bumblebees calm down at least 30 minutes after placement.

Enough pollen

  • Make a scheme for introducing the hives in a crop.
  • Feed additional pollen in case flowers do not produce sufficient pollen.
  • When the crop is healthy and the average 24-hour temperature at least 15 oC there will not be any problems with foraging activity of the bumblebees and thus pollination.
  • Increase the amount of colonies 2-4 weeks prior to heavy blossoming outside the greenhouse in spring. 


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