Biobest develops a new native Western bumblebee species

In response to growing demand from Western US and Canadian fruit and berry producers, Biobest is developing a native Western bumblebee for outdoor pollination.

What’s the Buzz?

Bumblebees are important pollinators of many cultivated crops. By pollinating our fruits and vegetables, they not only help deliver our healthy meals, but are vital to overall food security.

Bumblebees have the edge when it comes to effective pollination They produce their own heat, which in combination with their furry coats enable them to fly early in the season when it is still far too cold for honey bees and other insects. Unlike honeybees, they also ‘buzz’ or shake the flower to collect pollen, which assures effective pollination.

The use of bumblebees has allowed growers to produce higher-yielding, better quality and safer crops. In food crops like glasshouse tomatoes, bumblebees have for many years successfully replaced physical pollination or chemicals previously used to induce fruit-set.

Native Americans

The demand for bumblebees to help guarantee crop yield has increased in recent years as honeybees and other natural pollinators have declined, but because native Western species have not been available commercially, Western US and Canadian growers of field crops like berries, top fruit and canola have been at a disadvantage, unable to share in the many benefits these pollinators offer.

Taking Aim at the Problem

Biobest recognizes the ecological and economic benefits of using native species for pollination. Having pioneered the use of bumblebees for crop pollination, Biobest continues to lead the way by developing a native Western bumblebee species especially for the Western US and Canada, but we’re not just quick on the draw. Biobest has been successful in rearing a range of native Western bumblebee species, allowing us to select the very best candidate for the Western US market. Only the species that proves most successful in crop pollination will be launched for use in its native territory. Biobest expects to begin pollination trials in the spring of 2013, so Western bumblebees will be home on the range again as soon as possible.

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