Pollination problems in fruit crops: How to give it a boost with Biobest’s Flying Doctors®

In many fruit crops, pollination is one of the most critical and delicate phases of the entire growing season. This holds true in particular for crops such as cherry, kiwi, apple, pear and kiwiberry that require cross-pollination. Traditional practice is to have the pollinator line or variety planted in the field in a certain proportion to the target variety. Often the pollinator line produces low(er) quality fruit. Hence the surface occupied by the pollinators diminishes the economic return potential.

To help ensure good fruit-set, ample presence of pollinating insects is essential even when there is a sufficient proportion of pollinator plants. Nowadays, bumblebees are increasingly being used for their pollination services in fruit crops and Biobest’s dedicated outdoor hive (the MultiHive®) is an ideal solution for fruit growers that aim for an optimal pollination under all weather conditions.

New technologies can contribute to further optimize pollination. Increasingly, pollen from good pollinator lines is being collected and offered for sale. This allows growers to boost pollination. The pre-collected pollen is applied, for example, by means of hand-held pollen dispensers, or using other dusting or spraying techniques. However, pollen is very costly and a lot of pollen is wasted using these techniques since only a small fraction lands on the pistils where it is actually needed.

The Biobest bumblebee hives equipped with the patented Flying Doctors® -system offer a new and unique opportunity to apply pre-collected pollen in a much more efficient way. Pre-collected pollen is placed in the dispenser tray of a Flying Doctors®-hive. It sticks to the hairs of bumblebees leaving the hive. The foraging bumblebees then take the pollen straight to the flowers. Regular filling of the dispenser ensures optimal use of the pre-collected pollen and unrivaled pollination efficiency.

Currently our innovative fertility boost is already being put into practice in cherry, kiwi, apple and pear. If you wish to use this technology in your orchard, check for commercial availability of pollen and contact Biobest to order Flying Doctors® Multihives.

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