Native bumblebee available for growers in UK and Ireland

Native bumblebee available for growers in UK and Ireland

Koppert is pleased to announce that the native bumblebee Bombus terrestris subsp. audax will be available from spring 2011, for growers in the UK and Ireland.

The versatile Bombus terrestris subsp. audax can be used to pollinate a very wide range of outdoor crops, from soft and top fruit, to Curcubitaceae such as melons, courgettes and pumpkins, as well as seed crops, and crops grown under protection.

Bumblebees, first used as commercial pollinators in protected tomato crops in 1989, have developed into important, and widely applied and recognised commercial pollinators, for both protected and open field applications.

Koppert bumblebees provide practical answers for growers facing problems with pollination:

  • During periods when weather conditions are sub-optimal.
  • Under (hail) nets or in protected crops.
  • In crops or varieties that are less attractive to pollinators.
  • Due to a shortage of wild or other commercial pollinators.
  • In crops where there are problems related to poor fruit set, or poor quality of the produce.

Bombus terrestris audax offers a practical and economical answer to these problems by maximising the chances of optimal pollination, leading to more reliable production of higher quality. This can be explained by the fact that bumblebees with their furry coat and special internal heating system remain active, even during periods of poor weather conditions, working from early morning until late evening, transferring high amounts of pollen per visit, and performing „buzz pollination" which is of major importance for blueberries/currants.

Bumblebees lack a sophisticated communication system, which makes them effective at close range, staying in the crop, even in sub-optimal conditions.

Koppert's top quality bumblebees are straightforward to use and can be used alone, or combined easily with other pollinators.

Koppert supplies Bombus terrestris audax colonies under the name “Tripol audax”. The Tripol hive is a weatherproof and extra-insulated bumblebee product, containing three native bumblebee colonies, and can be used for the pollination of open field crops.

In addition, standard Natupol audax hives can be ordered, for use in fruit and vegetable production both under glass and polytunnels. These Natupol bumblebee hives contain one colony per unit.

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