Agrimore helps Greek growers get acquainted with bumblebee pollination in open field

Agrimore took on distribution of Biobest’s product line in Greece in August 2014, and decided to put a strong effort into making Greek fruit growers familiar with the benefits of bumblebee pollination. Few growers in Greece had prior experience with the use of bumblebee hives in open field. Biobest’s brand new open field pollination product, the Multi-Hive Turbo, made a strong impression. Its large number of workers allows to jumpstart pollination. Weather conditions were challenging during much of the 2015 flowering season, a good opportunity for bumblebees to demonstrate that they are a very valuable complement or alternative to honeybees and other natural pollinators.

Vasileios Kiotseridis is an agronomist, commercial manager and vice-president of Agrimore, Biobest’s distributor in Greece. “Greek agriculture is quite diverse. The country grows a lot of fruit crops for which pollination is a critical success factor. Did you know that Greece is the world’s 4th largest producer of kiwi and 6th largest for almonds?” says Vasileios. “Biobest’s experience in other countries shows that bumblebees in open field can warrant good fruit setting and high yield in different crops, especially also under cold, windy and cloudy weather conditions when honeybee activity is strongly reduced.”

Vasileios continues: “With Biobest launching its new Multi-Hive Turbo for open field pollination, this was a great time to start working on bumblebee pollination in open field in my country. I decided to work in apple, pear, plum, cherry, kiwi and almond. With over 600 workers per hive, the Multi Hive Turbo will jumpstart pollination and that is what we need in open field crops with a short flowering period. My customers were definitely impressed with the hives. They could easily appreciate the large number of workers upon delivery.”

We also asked Vasileios about specific strategies per crop and about first results, Vasileios: “Based on input from Biobest and our own experience, we recommended two Multi-Hives Turbos in  plum and almond and three in kiwi, pear and cherry. In kiwi, we even introduced some Flying Doctors hives to distribute pre-collected pollen.”
“As to the results, especially on kiwi” he continues, “We’ll need to wait until harvest to get a full picture and experience will need to be built over several years and different weather conditions. This spring brought a lot of rain and moisture until mid-April. Fungal diseases like Phytophthora and Monilia caused serious havoc on plums, pears and cherries. But especially in these difficult circumstances Vasileios already received very encouraging feedback from his growers. The benefit was clearly recognized on plum, pear and cherry. Also almond, a crop which there is limited experience with bumblebee pollination, fruit setting was much better than with natural pollination. The results were even better compared to 2014 with much better weather conditions.

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