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Only bumblebee workers and queens can sting, males can not. When using MALE colonies there is no danger of being stung.
Pollination of various seed crops: oil rape seed, various cabbage crops, leek, onion, various flower crops. Flowers must contain nectar.
For crossings with sterile male plants to create hybrids
Suitable for very small (isolated) units, f.e. 2-20 plants, but also for larger units
For specific crops that are not attractive to bumblebee workers (onion, fennel, leak, chicory, flowers)
In cabbage crops: 2-2.5 drones/m²
In onion, leak, fennel and chicory: 4-5 drones/m²
Lifetime of a MALE colony largely depends on the nectar production of the crop: from 1 week in leek/onion to 2-3 weeks in cabbage crops
On larger surfaces (>300 m²) or in case of large nectar production, it may be useful to place a normal colony in addition to a male hive.
Red cabbage: when flowering starts plants may produce only little nectar. Then introduce small quantities weekly, until there is enough nectar for the males to survive (± 3 weeks)
Green cabbage: when crossing of non-sterile lines it is recommended to use normal bumblebee colonies possibly together with honeybees. Use maximum 1 colony per 75 m². On larger surfaces (200-400 m²) honeybees can be used to get the rest of the nectar from the flowers.
Mode of action
Male bumblebees (drones) are only interested in nectar. Hence they visit nectar producing flowers; male, female and partly sterile flowers.
Drones do not consume the pollen from the flowers but take it on their hairs. Thus the pollen they carry is available for pollination in other visited flowers.
Instructions for use
Colonies should be placed on a sturdy support, about 50 cm above the ground; in spring in a sunny place, and later in the season in the shade.
Secure the hive so that ants cannot enter it.
After placement of the hive, let the bumble bees settle down for a while (½ - 1 hour) before opening the flight hole.
Drones fly particularly in the morning and later in the afternoon
Drones can be sensitive to the strong smell in some crops, such as onion and leek, which can decrease productivity. To avoid this, please ensure ventilation is optimal.
Combining the use of bumble bees with natural enemies does not present any problems.
Agricultural chemicals may have direct or indirect effects on the bumble bees. Direct effects occur when worker bees and larvae die as a result of contact with or digestion of a chemical product, indirect effects occur when the smell of the treated flower puts off the bumble bees, causing visits to stop.
Systemic pesticides (pesticides that are absorbed through the roots) often have a long-lasting residual effect. If a flower produces nectar in addition to pollen (e.g. sweet pepper), the damage to the bumble bee population may be much more serious than in a crop that only produces pollen (e.g. tomato).
You will find detailed information about persistence and compatibility of pesticides with bumblebees and most other beneficials online at Koppert’s website: www.koppert.nl
In all cases the BEEHOME option of the hive must be activated before the crop is treated. This option ensures that bumble bees can enter, but not leave the hive. After about an hour the hive can be closed completely, so that it can either be covered or removed from the crop.
If the hive is temporarily removed from the crop, it should be stored at 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.
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