In 1988 the bumblebee was discovered to be the best pollinator for tomatoes due to its unique ’buzz’ pollination technique. Before this discovery, tomatoes were pollinated manually, which was labour-intensive and less efficient. Within 3 years, the application of bumblebees in tomatoes became the global standard. From 1993 on, bumblebees were successfully tested in various other crops showing benefits as commercial pollinators. Nowadays, bumblebee pollination is applied in over a hundred different crops worldwide.
Benefits of bumblebees
Bumblebees are known to be easy, efficient and reliable pollinators since they:
Provide maximum insurance for optimal pollination, due to their high amount of flower visits and large transfer of pollen.
Are reliable workers, they work 7 days a week from dusk till dawn and even work well under poor weather conditions and protected environments.
Are easy to use and require low maintenance.
Are safe since they are not aggressive
What is pollination?
Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anthers of the flower to the stigma of the flower. If the pollen is transferred from anther to stigma on the same flower it is called self pollination. Cross pollination, is the transfer of pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower on the same plant or on another plant.
Many flowers require insects such as bumblebees to transfer the pollen. Bumblebees are known to be very efficient pollinators. They transfer large amounts of pollen with every flower visit due to their size and very densely haired bodies. During the flower visit, pollen grains will stick to the fur of the bumblebee. During next flower visits, this pollen will be transferred to the stigma of the flower. The rest of the pollen will be collected by the bumblebee in so called pollenbaskets on the hind legs of the bee.
Inside a bumblebee colony there are eggs, larvae, pupae, adult bumblebees and a bumblebee queen. The premature stages (larvae) need a lot of pollen to develop into adult bumblebees. This high demand for food is the driver for the bumblebee workers to collect pollen and nectar.
Bumblebees are very effective and efficient pollinators as they visit a high number of flowers per minute and transfer more pollen to the stigma than other pollinators.
Other benefits of bumblebees are:
Bumblebees switch between trees and rows while pollinating. This benefits cross pollination which is often required in various fruit or seed crops.
Bumblebees are active from early morning till late at night and also at relatively low temperatures (approx. 10°C) or during more cloudy or windy conditions.
Bumblebees are more effective in protected environments such as greenhouses, tunnels or netted orchards compared to honeybees.
Bumblebees tend to visit all crops close to the hive, which can be a benefit when less attractive crops need better pollination.
Bumblebees are not very aggressive and easy to use.
Production of bumblebees
The natural life cycle of the bumblebee is copied under laboratory conditions at our production facilities. In this way, we provide the best conditions that are needed to ensure maximum availability of high quality bumblebee colonies.
Pollination requirements are continuously changing due to market trends, new crop varieties, technologic developments and a changing environment. This explains the need for continuous research and high quality innovative pollination products. Natupol, is not just a bumblebee but a reliable innovative pollination system, assuring you maximum pollination and complying to the veterinary requirements of the receiving country.
High quality bumblebees Comparison trials show that Natupol colonies produce more brood and bees over a longer period of time. Vital colonies with a long lifespan offer more pollination hours.
Best availability in the market Natupol colonies are available throughout the year and have a short delivery time. Koppert has a well organized supply chain with globally distributed production facilities.
Best pollination results Natupol results in at least 30% more pollination potential when compared to rival products because Koppert’s bumblebee colonies grow bigger and last longer. The hive design developed over the years helps bumblebees to save 20% of the energy usually spent on cooling and heating the hive.
Best value for money All the above benefits ensure maximum pollination results at low pollination costs per kg giving customers the best value for money.
Ready for tomorrows challenges Pro-active research and collaboration with a number of scientific institutes and universities ensure we are geared for the future. With feedback from customers and local trials at numerous locations, Natupol products have been tried and tested to give you effective, affordable and sustainable solutions which satisfy customer demands.
Customized advice & support for growers 250 Natupol consultants and 130 distributors worldwide help growers by offering expert advice using best practices when working with Natupol. We consider customer feedback essential!
Bumblebees are very effective pollinators which results in good fruit set and savor of labour costs. Our Natupol solutions guarantee maximum pollination, even under difficult conditions. Our best bumblebees will deliver consistent performance and value for money.
Treatment of bumblebee stings and allergies
Bumblebees are in general very friendly and non-aggressive insects that will only sting when they are in real danger. Read more about bumblebee stings and how to treat a bumblebee sting.