We recommend using bumblebees on their own or in combination with honeybees for the pollination of your cherries.
  • Different cherry cultivars can vary greatly in flower set, and when bumblebees are used as the sole pollinator, recommendations vary according to the variety, ranging from a minimum of 9 turbo hives per hectare to 15 turbo hives per hectare.
  • We recommend a minimum of 6 turbo hives when used in combination with managed honeybee hives
The Biology of Cherries
Sweet cherry (Prunus avium) is primarily grown for the consumption of the fresh fruit, whereas sour cherry (Prunus cerasus) is more generally grown for use in cooking. Almost all sweet cherry varieties require cross-pollination, and must be grown with a suitable pollenizer cultivar. Most of the sour cherry varieties are self-fertile, and do not require cross-pollination to set fruit.
Both sweet and sour cherries require pollination from a suitable pollinator, such as a bumblebee, with wind alone being unable to provide effective pollination. Even in self-fertile varieties, bees are important for the transfer of pollen from anther (♂) to stigma (♀). Bumblebees show high mobility throughout orchard crops, and perform cross-pollination well, making them particularly useful in sweet cherry varieties. Sweet cherries generally flowers earlier in the season, when the adverse weather conditions are more suited to bumblebees than honeybees.
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New Zealand's only specialised producer of bumblebee hives for pollination services.

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