Let’s Compare Two Other Animals Mammals Nurse their young Live in family groups Four legs Eat vegetation Both like peanuts
PRACTICAL COMPARISONBumblebee HoneybeeForage heaviest in Forage heaviestmorning and evening during mid-dayAlmost always collect Almost always collectPollen and Nectar only NectarSonicate Do Not SonicateForage in Wind and Warm SunnyRain, under high Weather, do not worktunnels and well under plasticgreenhouses Attracted to flowersAttracted to most with high nectarflowers yields
Navigating under plasticBumblebees and Honeybees both see in the ultraviolet spectrum. The reason that bumblebees can foragesuccessfully under plastic that refracts UV light, is that they use landmarks for navigation.
Sonication (Buzz Pollination)• Bumblebees land on the flower, pulling it down until the anther is vertical (getting gravity’s help) then they vibrate their wing muscles. The vibration causes the flower to resonate, and grains of pollen are shaken loose. This drops onto the bee’s body and is available for cross pollination when she visits a flower on another plant.• On a hermaphrodite flower much of it will bounce right back up to the sticky stigma.• The development of the fleshy part of the fruit is stimulated by the fertilization of the seeds. So if bees are not present and only a few grains of pollen are delivered, fruit may form, but will not size up.• When enough grains of pollen are delivered to fertilize most of the seeds, the fruit will develop to be all that it can be.
How Many Hive do I use in my High TunnelsRecommended rateof input is one “ClassC” bumblebee hiveper 5000 square feetor lessEach “Class C” hiveshould last betweenfour to six weeksFor crops blooming more than five weeks it isrecommended to order a second hive to arriveafter the fourth week
Best Practice for Placement of Hives in High TunnelsPlace the hive in the middleof the tunnelPlace the hive where it willbe visible in spite of highcrop leaf densitiesThe entrance to the hivemust be clearly visible forthe bumblebeesPlace the hivehorizontally, which isimportant for the sugar
How do your tell if your Flowers are Pollinated Properly• For most crops you will have to trust in your bumblebees and observe fruit set and wait until harvest to see the fruits of their labor• Tomatoes are a different story…
Can Bumblebees Over-Pollinate• When too many bite marks are observed a flower suffers from over-pollinaton. It means that the flowers have been visited too many times by foraging bumblebees.
What’s the Downside to Over-Pollination?• The downside of over-pollination is that it negatively affects the health and longevity of your bumblebee hive• Over-pollination can be minimized by feeding your hive supplementary pollen available from Koppert