March/April 2024 - 21

One of the hallmarks of Koppert's approach is its timing
and communication with growers. Koppert delivers its hives
with precision, ensuring that bees are introduced in almond
orchards at the optimal bloom stage, typically around 5%.
This bumbler is an efficient and effective pollinator
in western crops, especially almonds. As part of the
pollination service, as a consultant I will walk the crops
together with the grower, checking hive activity, answering
questions and giving recommendations to the growers.
Tell us about the pollinators used for
your services and how they differ from
OL: We use two pollinators - the common eastern
bumblebees and yellow faced bumblebees. Both are native
to their regions, whereas honeybees are native to Europe.
Bumblebees are recognized as very efficient and reliable
pollinators. Bumblebees maximize a grower's assurance,
due to their ability to buzz pollinate for efficient transfer of
large amounts of pollen. They forage at low temperatures
(as low as 40º F) and on cloudy and windy days (they can
withstand winds up to 40 mph). They provide an integrated
approach to pollinating, enhancing the work of honeybees
and forming a healthy competition.
Bumblebees and honeybees are both fantastic
pollinators; they just work differently. Bumblebees fill in
the spaces where honeybees are not active, such as in low
temperatures, cloudy, foggy and rainy days.
Bumbles pollinate through a method called " buzz
pollination " where they produce a rapid vibrating motion
Differences between
honeybees and bumblebees
Temperatures: Bumblebees active at 40º F; 60º F to
65º F for honeybees.
Time of a day of pollination: Bumblebees leave hives
early in the morning, honeybees leave hives later.
Light levels: Light is a big factor for bees and it is
a trigger for them to work. In lower light levels,
bumblebees will come out and even venture out in foggy,
misty and light drizzle. Honeybees prefer high light
levels and will not come out in foggy, misty or light rain.
Wind: Bumblebees will fly in quite windy days - up to
40 mph winds. Honeybees will fly in winds up to about
15-20 mph.
Communication: Bumblebees don't have the same
sophistication level in communication as honeybees.
Honeybees are hard workers and fan out from hives,
they'll fly farther, whereas bumblebees will stay
closer - up to a mile from the hive.
" Buzz pollination allows a bumblebee
to pollinate a flower in a single visit -
increasing the quality of pollination. "
-Olivia Lake, Koppert
to release large amounts of pollen onto the bee or directly
on the stigma. Buzz pollination allows a bumblebee to
pollinate a flower in a single visit - increasing the quality
of pollination.
Can you provide more information on how
the hive works and how/if automation
plays a role?
OL: Bumblebee colonies are ruled by a queen,the
colony's mother. Each hive has its own queen and
workers. The hives are built by the queen and her
workers before they arrive on the farm.
After the hives are introduced to the farm, the worker
bumblebees start pollinating the flowers while simultaneously
collecting pollen to feed the brood. More workers emerge
from the brood in the weeks after introduction, increasing
both colony size and pollination performance. After some
weeks the colony will reach its maximum size and starts
declining in size and pollination activity.
Bumblebees only live one season, with the new queen
hibernating during the cold winter months. Before
hibernation, she will mate with a drone bee and find a
cozy and safe spot for the winter.
Automation plays a small role in the production of our
bumblebees. Rearing them is a process of selecting and
creating the ideal environment for them to thrive. When
it comes to rearing live insects, it's a hands-on approach.
We do have a feature with automated doors designed for
the greenhouse that allows growers to open doors in a
large greenhouse based on a timed schedule.
Can your bees work well alongside native
honeybees to improve pollination of crops?
OL: It is easy to add bumblebees into a pollination
plan. We set up a meeting with the grower to learn about
their pollination needs and about their crops. Once we
determine how many bumblebee hives they would need,
we place an order well ahead of pollination season.
The hives arrive via truck or UPS, the grower will set
them out in the fields, open the hive doors and let the
bees do their thing!
Bumblebees work well with honeybees, creating a
competitive pollination program. Use both bees with
caution, however, as honeybees will raid bumblebee hives
if there is not an adequate food source. Honeybees tend
to be more aggressive, so we highly recommend keeping
honeybees and bumblebee hives at least 800 feet apart
from each other.

March/April 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March/April 2024

Editor's Letter
The blight phase of Botryosphaeria diseases in nut crops of California
Tree nut outlook for 2024
From the top
Water stress
Buzz pollination
Hazelnut crop concerns
Almond Board of California
Ad Index
March/April 2024 - 1
March/April 2024 - 2
March/April 2024 - 3
March/April 2024 - Editor's Letter
March/April 2024 - 5
March/April 2024 - The blight phase of Botryosphaeria diseases in nut crops of California
March/April 2024 - 7
March/April 2024 - 8
March/April 2024 - 9
March/April 2024 - Tree nut outlook for 2024
March/April 2024 - 11
March/April 2024 - 12
March/April 2024 - 13
March/April 2024 - From the top
March/April 2024 - 15
March/April 2024 - 16
March/April 2024 - 17
March/April 2024 - Water stress
March/April 2024 - 19
March/April 2024 - Buzz pollination
March/April 2024 - 21
March/April 2024 - Hazelnut crop concerns
March/April 2024 - 23
March/April 2024 - Business
March/April 2024 - 25
March/April 2024 - Almond Board of California
March/April 2024 - Events
March/April 2024 - 28