We recommend using bumblebees in combination with honeybees for the pollination of apricots!
- We recommend a minimum of 6 bumblebee hives per hectare when used in combination with honeybees. Ideally space the bumblebee hives evenly throughout the crop, but keep them as far away from the honeybee hives as possible.
- We recommend 6-10 bumblebee hives per hectare in the absence of other managed bees
Bumblebees are proving especially important for stone fruit and earlier flowering crops that prove difficult to pollinate with honeybees due to sustained low temperatures or poor weather during the flowering period. Bumblebees are great at promoting cross pollination, which is important in varieties interplanted with pollinizers.
In cold temperatures, the speed of pollen tube growth will be more limited, however this is at least partially offset by extended receptivity of the stigma and ovules. Studies have shown that pollen tube growth speed is positively influenced by the number of pollen grains deposited on the stigma, with more competition resulting in faster pollen tube growth and a longer effective pollination period. Therefore it is vital that ample pollen is deposited during cool weather and bumblebees are by far the most suitable pollinator to achieve this!
REDUCE THE VARIABILITY OF YOUR POLLINATION WITH BUMBLEBEES
The Biology of Apricots
Most apricot (Prunus armeniaca) varieties are self-fertile; however some varieties do require cross-pollination from a pollinizer tree, or benefit from cross-pollination with increased yields. The high mobility of bumblebees in orchards lends well to the cross-pollination of apricot flowers, and their ability to pollinate during adverse weather conditions could be highly beneficial during the short flowering period.
Apricot flowers produce ample nectar.
Low temperatures at flowering can cause poor pollen germination and pollen tube growth.
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