8 keys for a successful pollination on fruit crops
Agrobío – March 11th, 2016
Fruit trees have a short flowering time. This means that pollinators must do a quick and effective job since flowers will be open only a few days, sometimes in winter and other times in spring.
Here are 8 keys you have to know for a successful pollination on fruit crops..
ONE. Use the outdoor bumblebee hive for fruit crop pollination, alone or as a complement to honey bee hives.
In order to ensure the pollination of all flowers, put bumblebee hives (Bombus terrestris) in your crop, 4-5 double hives per hectare will be enough. The double hive contains 2 colonies of bumblebees, each colony with a queen and a strong developing nest.
If you are using honey bees already, the bumblebee can be a fantastic complement to bees. But don’t put them too close, 100 metres is a prudential distance.
TWO. Optimize the pollination at low temperatures.
If the flowering begins sooner than expected, it’s winter and it’s still cold, use bumblebee hives. They are robust insects, with thick fur and low-temperature resistant (5ºC). They go outside even with snow or frost.
Don’t worry about the lack of sunlight. Cloudy days, especially during this period of the year, are not a problem for their activity.
THREE. Check that your bumblebee hive’s characteristics are appropriate for open field conditions.
If you have used the standard hive before probably it had been affected by the rain, frost, snow or dew. Because of this you need to make sure that the cover is waterproof and is properly ventilated, to increase the comfort and bumblebee’s health inside the nest.
FOUR. Put the bumblebee hive at the beginning of flowering.
When 1-5% of flowers are open it’s the best moment to put your bumblebee hives and to be sure that flowers are pollinated from the first to the last.
FIVE. Orient the hive toward the sunrise.
A good way to increase the hive activity is to orient its door toward the sunrise, facing South-East. It will help bumblebees to orientate themselves and to start the pollination activity.
But always protected. Put the hive in the shade of a tree. If the hive gets direct sunlight it can reach high temperatures and make the bumblebees to spend most of the day buzzing in order to make the hive cooler, what implies a higher stress level for the colony and less hours working outside.
SIX. Increase the number of visits to your flowers.
Bumblebees visit more flowers per flight than bees and other pollinators. This efficiency is an advantage when it comes to the pollination of fruit trees, because the flowering time is very short, between 10 and 15 days.
SEVEN. Create an attraction effect on other pollinators.
If you use bumblebee hives, they will attract other pollinators. By using bumblebees you will preserve the local fauna and will help your flowers to be appealing to other pollinators.
EIGHT. Prevent your pollinators from leaving your crop.
With bumblebees you don’t have to worry if your neighbour’s flowers are more appealing. Bumblebees don’t tend to go to adjacent crops and their maximum flight distance is about 150 m.
But if you really don’t want your bumblebees to fly away secure the hive against the wind!. Tie it up to a pallet if you put the hive on the ground or to the branches of a tree if you put the hive up high..
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