Spring has arrived
For greenhouse crops that use bumble bees to pollinate this article is a timely reminder! It always happened, when the orchard next door was flowering during spring, the bees from my greenhouse would be more attracted to the flowering trees, they were obviously much greener pastures! This was a major pain in the ‘you know what ‘as it effected the set on my trusses. It is very important to increase bee pressure at this time of the year as not only is there more competition from outside but also truss and flowering speed are increasing quickly as the light intensity and day length increase.
Making sure sequential and fast setting is occurring for growers harvesting truss is crucial as appearance and uniformity of the set is important. I never quite found the perfect solution to this. My approach was to regularly monitor the truss to flower ratio. Too many flowers open and the lack of a bruise on the flower were my indicators.
Extra laterals will mean extra flowers open and you can quickly gauge the extra work load required of the bumble bees. Cherry toms will be flowering faster than I can write this so regular, scheduled bumble bee hive replacements are recommended. In a scenario where you may order two hives every two weeks split them up to one every week.
Another tip is to keep the hives out of direct sunlight and don’t stack them on top of each other.
This week I had a conversation with an ex grower, in regards to the best workers in the greenhouse, we both agreed were the humble bumble bees. I just hope they never catch onto holiday entitlements!