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How to optimize the pollination

For melons and watermelons, bumblebees are better than bees

Koppert shared with producers the three reasons why greenhouse crop professionals should use bumblebees, and not just bees, for the pollination of watermelon and melon crops, especially taking into account that the Spanish southeast tends to have more windy days in spring.

Firstly, bumblebees continue to work on cloudy days, regardless of rain or wind, "while bees stop pollinating and seek refuge inside the hive," say representatives of Koppert, one of the leading firms in the bumblebee hive segment under the Natupol brand. This natural behavior of the bee can cause "significant losses for the producer, since the flowering of melon and watermelon plants is very short, and the future harvest depends on what happens during those few days."

The second argument has to do with versatility. It has been shown that bumblebees work in a much wider temperature range than bees. "They are very active on cloudy and rainy days and can fly with winds of up to 65 kilometers per hour," say the Koppert representatives.

Lastly, it is also worth noting that bumblebees visit many more flowers per minute than bees and work from sunrise to sunset. "At the end of the day, the bumblebee will have visited two or three times more flowers than the bee," they explain.

The biological control firm is convinced that bumblebees are "just the reinforcement that the producers need in order to ensure that the pollination continues if the weather changes for the worse and the bees stop doing their work. The end goal, after all, is to get all the plants to bear fruit, so that the producer can obtain the maximum turnover possible."


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