Study shows bumblebees increase blueberry yields.
It’s well understood that bees are vital to many crops, but it’s long been the role of honeybees as pollinators that has been highlighted. However, one new study confirms what many Florida blueberry growers already know: bumblebees are important too, and can significantly increase yields. A Growing Produce Magazine article outlined a study conducted by UF/IFAS researchers showing bumblebee hives can boost blueberry yields by up to 70 percent. Read a summary of the article below.
Boosting Power of Bumblebees
UF/IFAS researchers conducted studies in North Florida on a big commercial blueberry farm growing southern highbush blueberries there. Of Florida’s five species of bumblebee, just one can be kept and used by commercial beekeepers as pollinators. In the study, researchers compared blueberry fields where bumblebee hives were used versus fields where they were not.
According to the article, researchers found that 70% of the flowers produced blueberries where the bumblebees were used as pollinators. In the other fields where pollinators were not used at all, less than 10% of the blueberry flowers produced fruit.
Many blueberry growers in Florida use commercial bumblebees to help pollinate their blueberry bushes in addition to commercial honeybees. Some reasons why bumblebees increase yields is they have been shown to pollinate more flowers per bee than honeybees and bumblebees will still pollinate in poor weather where honeybees will not. The study was published in the journal Environmental Entomology.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.