APIS Bloom - Bloomin' marvellous
Tree crop flowers are visited by many native species of nectar and pollen collecting insects including wasps, flies, ants and other native bugs, however, the major pollinators in most commercial Australian orchards are European honeybee (Apis mellifera).
Flowering in commercial orchards can occur early in spring (almonds) across hours, days or even weeks and bees need to work through cool mornings and days. In the case of some inflorescence it may take weeks to be fully pollinated.
This means bees have to be attracted into the field in less than favourable conditions multiple times across an extended period for effective pollination and fruit set to occur.
It takes about 150 bee visits to a macadamia raceme across two weeks for full pollination to take place.
Successful pollination requires a high degree of constant movement of bees and arrestment throughout a plantation for effective fruit set and quality (size and uniformity).
There are a number of commercially available products that contain certain volatile chemicals known to attract bees.
Some are feeding stimulants and others mimic the signalling of scouting bees and worker bees.
All are designed to increase foraging of commercial European honeybees by attracting them into the crop with a hope this will improve pollination outcomes.
One of the more advanced pollination enhancers to enter the market in recent years is APIS Bloom from Organic Crop Protectants.
APIS Bloom is based on ISCA Tech’s Specialised Pheromone & Lure Application Technology (SPLAT) and is designed to increase foraging range and productivity of bees and inducing them to remain in the treated field for longer periods of time.
Honeybees typically prefer to forage relatively close to their hives, and selectively target flowers that offer the most plentiful stores of pollen and nectar.
APIS Bloom - applied in small dollops directly to the surfaces of plants - steadily releases a semiochemical which is naturally produced by worker bees called Nasonov pheromone.
The Nasonov pheromone is used by scout worker bees to mark the flowers they visit indicating to other bees that there are productive sources of pollen and nectar available.
When dispersed throughout the field APIS Bloom induces foraging honeybees to regard the treated crop as a desirable food source thereby preventing them from leaving the field in search of alternative sources.
Field studies conducted in apples and almonds showed that treatment with APIS Bloom resulted in consistently higher levels of pollination and fruit set in these crops as compared with untreated control plots.
The great advantage of APIS Bloom is that the toothpaste like matrix is easy to apply with a caulking gun or using OCP’s new SPLATAGATOR machine.
The APIS Bloom releases the Nasonov pheromone in a controlled manner across an extended time period of up to four to six weeks.
It is extremely rain-fast and resistant to weather making it an effective pollination enhancer across the flowering period of most trees, vegetables (melons) and seed crops like carrots.
Source: Organic Crop Protectants