Fruit grower uses Natupol Tripol for outdoor pollination
Fruit grower Alfred Verstegen works together with his brother and nephews on their fruit company, Verstegen VOF in Opijnen, Gerlderland. Six years ago, they introduced Natupol Tripol bumblebees for optimal pollination of their apple and pear orchards.
Situated in the Betuwe fruit growing region of the Netherlands, the 80-hectare orchard grows apples on 45 hectares and pears on 35 hectares. Apple varieties grown include Elstar, Goudreinetten, Kanzi, Maribelle, Gala, Red Prince and Golden delicious. Pears include Conference, Tessa and Migo. ‘Our oldest apple plot is 15 years old and the youngest is one year old,’ Alfred explains. ‘We constantly innovate and are working more and more sustainably, making use of drones and GPS-tracking maps that show where crop protection products or fertilizers should be applied. This means we use fewer chemical agents and work with biological solutions where possible.’
Using biological solutions
‘Pesticides are bad for beneficial insects and anything you can do to make it more sustainable is a good thing,’ Alfred adds. Koppert’s Tripol hives were introduced into the apple and pear orchards six years ago when Alfred, who has been a fruit grower for 35 years, noticed that the blossoms were not pollinated optimally by the honeybees present at the time. ‘Bumblebees are more active than honeybees at lower temperatures, and we have found that a combination of honeybees and bumblebees is a big improvement.’ Alfred uses two Tripol hives per hectare, starting with the pear orchard, then moving them to the apple orchard in early spring.
‘Although the weather has been unpredictable these last few years, we make sure to place our order for the hives in good time for the blossoms. The provision of information by Koppert consultants is good and I am satisfied with the results.’