Bumblebees are great pollinators of currants!
- We recommend a minimum of 12 bumblebee hives per hectare when used as the only managed pollinators. Ideally space the bumblebee hives evenly throughout the crop.
- Bumblebees can also be used with honeybees to provide back up pollination when the weather is poor and honeybees won't pollinate, but keep the bumblebee hives as far away from any honeybee hives as possible.
The Biology of Berries
Currants and gooseberries benefit significantly from cross-pollination, and while flowers are generally some-what self-compatible, the male and female parts of the flower are usually physically separated, requiring the visit of a pollinator. All varieties require cross-pollination to set a satisfactory crop, as most self-pollinated flowers will abort in favour of those cross-pollinated. Inadequate pollination results in reduced yields.
Bumblebees are much more active than honeybees during poor weather and will fly at significantly cooler temperatures, making them ideal pollinators for early flowering crops. The large size of a bumblebee assists in its deposition of pollen, and bumblebees have shown high mobility when foraging in orchards, increasing the likelihood of cross-pollination.
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