Bumblebees Bombus Terrestris in Horticulture

The horticulture continues surprising. During technical tour realised in the zone of Quillota anoints, in Chile, Argentine technicians invited by Syngenta visited the BioCruz establishment, one of the main promoters of the techniques of natural pollination with bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) in horticultural cultures of the trans-Andean country.

In Chile, this innovation is used in more of 20% of the plantations and its use continues growing. This methodology makes possible a more innocuous culture and with majors productivity indices.

The use of these bumblebees for pollination in tomato cultures was born in Holland. In Chile it was incorporated by the small producers. For them, the purchase of the beehives was a saving from time and work, and also it contributed much to improve the production and its indices of yield. They are used with great success in plantations of tomato, peppers, br³coli, cauliflower, cucumber, watermelons, melons, red pepper, carrot and parsley.

€œThese insects pollenizers, the bumblebees (Bombus terrestris), fly to temperatures among 8 and 35Bombus-Dahlbomii-1

°Cs and are less aggressive than the mel­feras or Creole bees (the most known in Argentina). They remain active during cloudy days and dark, they still maintain its visit to the flowers under conditions of rain, own a long language that allows him to extract the nectar easily, with its muscles of flight they make vibrate the flower to obtain pollen and visit in average 14 flowers per minute. The work of a bumblebee is equivalent to the one of 10 bees€, affirms Ing. Adri¡n Mitidieri of the Agrodesarrollos company.

According to it was verified in the BioCruz company, the activity of the bumblebees is incessant since they do not leave flower without visiting, which represents a high efficiency since almost all the flowers jell and even clusters are obtained. The fruits pollinated with bumblebees reach a greater weight and caliber, and improve their organoleptic characteristics. When being a system of natural pollination, the quality of the fruit is significantly better in terms of heavier and flavorful appearance (homogenous fruit, more intense color).

According to evaluations realised by Group GHIA (conformed by the companies Syngenta, Yara, Netafim and Ipesa) in 2008 and 2009, in tomato, average, a bumblebee visits 14 flowers per minute, reason why during a flight that lasts about 40 minutes it visits 560 flowers. Each beehive can realise approximately 100 daily flights, reason why the total of visited flowers is of 56.000. It is possible that each flower is visited up to three times. In order to calculate the number of necessary beehives for a greenhouse of tomatos it is possible to be taken as reference that a beehive in good state can pollinate 3.000/4.000 plants, according to the conditions that the greenhouse presents (temperatures, relative humidity, and ventilation). The beehives are used once by cycle of tomato and in cultures of high productivity that get to obtain between 14 or 16 clusters of tomato by plant. This methodology also needs a suitable use of agro-chemical.