Bumblebees are a key component in the glasshouse production of fruit.
Approximately 95% of the current, around the world commercial bumblebee use is in greenhouses, with the global trade in bumblebee colonies likely exceeding 1 million nests per year. Bumblebee nest boxes are small, readily delivered by courier, and easily placed in glass or plastic houses by the grower. The smaller colony size allows for greater flexibility in relation to crop area, and the bumblebees are well suited to the greenhouse environment (including their interactions with humans). Worker bees quickly acclimatise themselves to their new surroundings and begin their pollination duties within a matter of minutes. Bumblebee can be returned home and nests can be quickly closed, allowing greater flexibility when making chemical spray decisions. Also, growers are not bound by contract to the preservation of the hive, and do not need to consult with the apiarist when making spray decisions, as with the use of honeybees.