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  1. #1

    Question How does it work?

    Saw a story on the telly the other day talking about greenhouses and the bees needed to pollinate the crops. It seems that the bees do not fly into the greenhouses mainly, I suppose, because the doors are closed to keep the warm in.

    I understand that the temperature may not be alright for the bees even if they could get in. So how are the crops pollinated? Do they have to do it manually? That seems very labour intensive. So how do they do it?

    Thanks for your help on this subject.
    It is better to wear out than to rust out.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member piroska's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does it work?

    Most things grown in greenhouses don't need bees - like tomatoes, capsicums etc.
    They're wind pollinated, bees do go on them, but they are necessary.
    Ex-pctek

  3. #3
    Apple free in Appleby KarameaDave's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does it work?

    The tomato grower in Karamea uses these
    https://www.zonda.net.nz/category/greenhouse-crops/
    FTW

  4. #4

    Default Re: How does it work?

    Thanks for that, Dave. I was quite certain that they needed bees but I did not know how it worked. It even shows flowers for tomatoes. I am quite certain, the same as all plants, that capsicums have flowers as well.

    The only thing I wonder about is what happens to the honey? The article says that the hives are maintenance free and last four to six weeks, so I wonder what happens after that? Do you discard the hives and if so, how? I would imagine the bees need to go somewhere. Or perhaps you replace the bladder of sugar? It would be interesting to know.
    It is better to wear out than to rust out.
    - Richard Chamberlain, Tour of the Hebrides

    Us husbands are a sorry lot.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How does it work?

    Bumble bees only make a small amount of honey, which they eat themselves.

    https://www.earthrangers.com/top-10/...t-bumble-bees/

    and tomatoes don't necessarily need bees - they can be fertilized manually with a soft brush

    btw - honey bees cannot fertilize tomatoes etc
    Last edited by bevy121; 11-05-2020 at 02:49 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How does it work?

    Quote Originally Posted by bevy121 View Post
    Bumble bees only make a small amount of honey, which they eat themselves.

    https://www.earthrangers.com/top-10/...t-bumble-bees/

    and tomatoes don't necessarily need bees - they can be fertilized manually with a soft brush

    btw - honey bees cannot fertilize tomatoes etc
    Thank you, Bevy, that was most interesting.
    It is better to wear out than to rust out.
    - Richard Chamberlain, Tour of the Hebrides

    Us husbands are a sorry lot.

  7. #7
    Senior Member piroska's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does it work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roscoe View Post
    Thanks for that, Dave. I was quite certain that they needed bees but I did not know how it worked. .

    No.
    I grew tomatoes indoors under a grow light when we were down South. I'd go in once a day and flick the flowers, which simulates wind.....the pollen drops down and fertilizes the flowers.
    Google will tell you the exact specifics.
    Ex-pctek

  8. #8
    tweakedgeek tweak'e's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does it work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roscoe View Post
    Thanks for that, Dave. I was quite certain that they needed bees but I did not know how it worked. It even shows flowers for tomatoes. I am quite certain, the same as all plants, that capsicums have flowers as well.

    The only thing I wonder about is what happens to the honey? The article says that the hives are maintenance free and last four to six weeks, so I wonder what happens after that? Do you discard the hives and if so, how? I would imagine the bees need to go somewhere. Or perhaps you replace the bladder of sugar? It would be interesting to know.
    the bumble bee hives go back to the 'manufacture' and they refill them with bumble bees.
    bumble bees don't work as a hive like honey bees do. think of bumbles as more like solitary bees. so a bumble bee 'hive' is just a bunch of bumbles bees in one place and they all go off and do their own thing.
    bumbles are really expensive for pollination.
    honey bees have a massive advantage due bee numbers, but they don't work under cover. hence why bumbles are used.
    Tweak it till it breaks

  9. #9
    Senior Member piroska's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does it work?

    Bumblebees build seasonal nests, usually underground, but also in wall cavities, and even old piles of leaves. By late spring they are literally hives of activity.

    Each nest is home to up to 400 bees and occupies a space that's roughly equivalent to a soccer ball. They don't build wax comb but rather small "pots" of mud and wax which are used to store honey and as nurseries for their larvae.
    Queens overwinter in small holes just beneath or on the ground’s surface, emerging in spring to create new colonies they begin by laying eggs.

    Bumblebees are known to be easy, efficient and reliable pollinators They are reliable workers, they work 7 days a week from dusk till dawn and even work well under poor weather conditions and protected environments.

    bumblebees are a cut above other insects, such as honeybees. They work faster, visiting many more flowers per minute. Their large size lets them carry huge pollen loads, allowing longer foraging trips, and achieving better contact with flowers. Bumblebees will also work under conditions that other pollinators find intolerable. First of all, they can pollinate in a greenhouse. More importantly, bumblebees can work in temperatures below 50 degrees F. Not even strong wind or moderate rainfall will prevent the bumblebees from going about their pollination duties.

    We have them, I find the males (smaller) tend to work until dark and don't always go home, they curl up in a zucchini flower, which closes, and emerge in the morning when the flower opens and resume work.

    Queens do all the work themselves first, until they have laid enough eggs and hatched them, to procure helpers.
    A bit of watered down honey revives exhausted bumbles....which happens, they crash and stagger about. A drink and a rest revives them and off they go again.
    Last edited by piroska; 16-05-2020 at 03:05 PM.
    Ex-pctek

  10. #10
    tweakedgeek tweak'e's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does it work?

    Quote Originally Posted by piroska View Post
    Bumblebees are known to be easy, efficient and reliable pollinators They are reliable workers, they work 7 days a week from dusk till dawn and even work well under poor weather conditions and protected environments.
    absolutely. if i remember right they are meant to be about 10x more effective pollinator than honey bees.
    however from a pollination stand point they simply lack the huge numbers required for cost effective crop pollination.
    even at 400 bumbles to a nest (the large bumble hives are only 100 or so bumble bees), is no match for the typical 20,000 to 40,000 honeys bees per hive.
    Tweak it till it breaks

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