Biobest Develops Native Western Bee

11/8/2012

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

Bumblebees are important pollinators of many cultivated crops. By pollinating our fruits and vegetables, they not only help deliver our healthy meals, but are also 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 enables them to fly early in the season when it is still far too cold for honeybees and other insects. Unlike honeybees, they also buzz or shake flowers 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 greenhouse tomatoes, bumblebees have for many years successfully replaced physical pollination or chemicals previously used to induce fruit set.

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 U.S. 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.

Biobest recognizes the ecological and economic benefits of using native species for pollination. Having pioneered the use of bumblebees for crop pollination, Biobest has now developed a native western bumblebee species especially for the western U.S. and Canada. Biobest has been successful in rearing a range of native western bumblebee species, allowing them to select the right candidate for the western U.S. market.

The company says that 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.

For more information:
Bert Synaeve
Biobest
bert.synaeve@biobest.be
www.biobest.be