Bee attractant expands use

Last season saw the grower and crop use of the popular bee attractant, Bee Klipp expand beyond its initial target of pome and stone fruit. New crop usage now extends to include mango, avocado, cherries and cucurbits. This season there is a new use in blueberry and rubus berry crops as well.

With last summer being so challenging with bushfires and drought, growers are finding hive supply to be even tighter than usual, says product manager at Bugs for Bugs, David Loxley. He believes there is also concern about the vitality of hives from some regions. This scenario is generating even more attention to pollination management.

“Growers understand that one of the best ways to improve pollination is to attract more bees and increase their activity. That’s why growers have utilised various foliar applied and extended release products during pollination, as well as investigating improved hive placement and management.

“Bee Klipp is an attractant, designed to lure bees into flowering crops and improve their activity, helping to achieve better pollination. Bee Klipp is made of a semi-permeable material which pays out during a period of over four weeks. The active ingredients are high levels of naturally occurring floral odours that make it highly attractive to bees.

“Bee Klipp is a significant advancement over foliar applied bee attractants. Additionally, it also improves on the previous product we developed for growers, called BeeString,” Mr Loxley said.

“Foliar applied bee attractants have several deficiencies. They are prone to wash off, and because the rate of release of the attractant is unregulated, they dissipate very quickly. This means subsequent applications are required to ensure the attractiveness to bees over the whole pollination period.”

Products such as Bee Klipp have enabled the attractive action to be extended and help ensure bee activity right through the blossom period. Importantly, the efficacy of Bee Klipp is not affected by rain.

“Though the forerunner BeeString worked reasonably well, its release of attractant was over too short a time for some growers. Additionally, we needed to improve the way the product is positioned in trees. Bee Klipp development addressed both these issues so BeeString is no longer locally available,” Mr Loxley said.

“Bee Klipp is ready to use, and with the amount of active ingredient per hectare being increased compared with previous versions, the release of floral odours is more intense over a longer period of time. With Bee Klipp, bees are attracted during the whole pollination period. The more intense pay out of floral odour increases bee attraction.

“Hive costs are increasing, and in some areas, growers are unable to secure sufficient hives to ensure adequate pollination. So using Bee Klipp is a simple and cost-effective way to improve hive efficiency, pollination and profits.”

Bee Klipp is easy to apply and user friendly, with the clip feature allowing for positioning in the tree as you walk through the orchard. Staff can be easily trained to apply them, and minimal supervision is required.

“It is recommended that in most situations the Bee Klipp is dispensed in the orchard a couple of days before hive placement to help ensure the bees stay focussed on the crop at hand,” Mr Loxley said.

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