Observations of Pollination and Fertilisation

Field observations conducted at the Robinvale Almond Farm testify that Bluebees Boards guarantee the pollination and flower fertilisation of almond trees. August 2014.

Flower fertilisation by bee-pollination, in combination with modern intensive agricultural practices, are integral field activities that guarantee voluminous crops of fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, pulses, nuts etc.

In the past 12 years or so, small hive beetles (SHB) have invaded Honeybee hives and decimated and/or wiped out honeybee-colonies. In that time, strategies such as chemical applications, traps, screened boards and more recently Bluebees Bottom Boards, have been trialled and introduced to Beekeepers to control the SHB.

Tests to date show the most successful strategy is the use of Bluebees Bottom Boards. In field testing it has been proven that the Bluebees Boards are the essential element for re-establishing and maintaining a healthy and sustainable, chemical free environment in honeybee hives.

The Bluebees Bottom Boards create cleaner, more efficient hives and thus allow for:

  • optimum ventilation throughout the hive
  • a dryer hive, which prevents the SHB from breeding
  • bees to self-eject rubbish and pests
  • increased pollination efficiency
  • increased honey production
  • a chemical free hive
  • harvesting of pure, chemically untainted, natural honey

The pollination and flower fertilisation methods of agricultural crops have dramatically evolved.

Beekeepers have a dual role, that is: honey production and, during the past 50 years or so, crop fertilisation via bee-pollination.

Perhaps in the decades to come, certain beekeeper-operations will solely specialise in either “honey production” or “crop bee-pollination / fertilisation” as currently both of these activities are intertwined.

One thing is for sure: bee-pollination and fertilisation are vital to meet the ever increasing requirement of crops to feed the world.
The pollination / fertilisation strategy of crop farmers has had to adapt continuously in order to be in harmony with changing agricultural techniques and tactics.

In regard to beekeepers, this means:

  • Beekeepers are well aware that the survival of their bee colonies is highly dependent on the crop-farmers’ “field tactic techniques”; such as the use of chemical applications which may be needed to control an unforeseen pest / fungal situation.
  • Crop-farmers’ knowledge of the repercussions of “field tactic techniques”, like chemical applications, are not fully understood and appreciated in that they may be catastrophic to the bee populations.

In other words, the crop-farmers will control a “spreading fungal situation” with chemicals to rapidly stop crop damage but at the same time this action may reduce the pollination intensity by killing the bees in very large numbers.

We expect that beekeepers and crop farmers, both essential in their respective fields, would wish to produce excellent crops and have the common objective of insuring predictably high levels of flower-fertilisation. They can do this most efficiently through the natural pollination mechanism provided by strongly populated, healthy bee-colonies, nurtured via a long term agriculturally sustainable bee/crop environment.

Understanding of pollination and fertilisation: distinctive but vitally intertwined actions

On one side: the bloom (flower population), which is made by a number of open flowers per tree and trees’ plantation-surface at a certain time / day. This could be from a few thousand to millions of flowers, depending on the type of crops / trees.

On the other side: The colonies of bees called “working honeybees”. This is the density of honeybees available to work the flowers.

Both the bloom and the healthy colonies of bees are the parameters of the essential pollination and fertilisation . Strong bee populations combined with a plentiful bloom will deliver a very intense pollination and therefore the successful fertilisation of any crop.

The pollination /fertilisation ‘strength’ period is the time when the flowers can be pollinated and fertilised to produce fruits, seeds, nuts, etc. The period of ‘flowers opening’ ranges from a few hours to up to five days for some crops.

The ‘intensity’ of the pollination is the level of pollination / fertilisation which will give the yield in fruit, seeds, nuts, etc produced.

The difference in size of any crop yield gives an understanding of the benefits of the bees’ pollination activity and intensity: that is, the larger the bee population, the bigger the food crop will be.

In the field beehive management to control robbing activity.

The technical field management of pollination, decided by both the beekeeper’s representative and the owner’s representative of the crop to be pollinated and fertilised, is vital for a high crop harvest.
“Robbing” activity is associated with pollination and is the outcome of the beekeeper’s management technique, in which many beehive colonies are placed too close together. Robbing activities are much more likely during a dearth of food conditions.

The number of beehives per hectare, the density of working honeybees and the safe separation of the various loads of beehives, needs to be implemented carefully to avoid “robbing”. This is the responsibility of the beekeepers representative who ought to be in constant contact with the owner representative of the crop to be pollinated.

The shared experience of the beekeeping representative and the owner representative of the crop is essential for a successful harvest. However, the health and strength quality of the beehives delivered by each beekeeper will further guarantee substantial crops.

Healthy & numerous bees = healthy & abundant crops

Sustainable health and strength of the hive.

It is the beekeeper’s view that the health and strength of the beehive appears to be linked to the type of brood box bottom board in use.

We now know that the plain brood box bottom boards are noxious to colonies of bees, allowing very aggressive and persistent interloping pests to invade the hive, thus creating an unsustainable environment.

Unfortunately the SHB spread very fast due to pollination / fertilisation activity and with the transportation of hives across Australia. It is now obvious that natural means are far more efficient in controlling the SHB than chemical interventions, traps or the old metal mesh/screen boards.

It has recently been proved by factual observations (please refer to my beekeeper testimonials page) that after removing the noxious plain brood box bottom boards and replacing them with the revolutionary Bluebees Bottom Boards, environmental sustainability in the hives was naturally restored and is now observed to be self-maintaining.

Healthier colonies of bees stronger in numbers is the best prescription for excellent pollination and fertilisation of crops. The ultimate result is abundant harvests and agricultural sustainability.



Jean-Pierre F Mercader  |  jpm@bluebees.com.au  |  0412 451 060

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