Biobest has launched a new bumblebee hive box with an automatic lock-in system designed to protect the important pollinators in tomato greenhouses.
According to the company, this keeps the bumblebees safe during lighting periods, while also increasing the intensiveness of pollination when they are allowed to fly out. The system is particularly aimed at in crops grown under artificial lighting, particularly for tomatoes.
“Tomato growers who use bumblebees to pollinate their crops run the risk that the bees will fly into the artificial lights and die,” says Sam Gui, advisor at Biobest. “Thanks to our lock-in system, growers are able to keep their bumblebees inside when the lights are on.”
The lock-in system can also be used to protect the bumblebees when growers use pesticides on their crops, although the company stresses that with integrated production techniques, this is less of an issue these days.
Because the time that the bumblebees can fly out is restricted, it makes them work more intensively during this shorter period. “This is very interesting in the case of tomatoes,” says Sam Gui. After all, we know that pollination works better if it takes place in the morning, within a limited time span.”
The Biobest automatic lock-in system can be operated both manually and remotely with a compressed air system. Every hive has two flight openings: one is for flying ‘in’ and the second is for flying ‘in and out’. The lock-in system ensures that growers are able to close off the ‘in and out’ opening. At that point the bumblebees can only enter their hive but not leave it again.