# play an important role in the of many crops. Managed pollination is the most efficient way to achieve this for top fruits and soft fruits to arable crops such as oil seed rape (OSR), field beans and borage.

The increasing size of today’s fields and orchards along with high costs involved using artificial fertilisers mean that farmers should be looking to consider the benefits of managed pollination. By putting the correct number of managed hives into or around these crops guarantees pollination. It  also increases yield and provides better quality fruit. Wild pollinators and domestic pollinator populations (bumble , solitary bees, hover flies) are at an all time low and most feral colonies have been lost to , yet another reason that pollination management has become increasingly important to the farmer and the environment.

Natural pollinators such as bumble bees and solitary bees are very small colonies by early spring , when they are most needed. Their queens will have just begun to set up nests and are rearing young worker bees. The benefits of bees placed in early spring are huge in comparison as honey bee colonies coming out of the winter will contain 25,000/30,000 bees with the queen.  This means that one honey bee colony equals 300 bumble bee colonies.

Research in Canada shows an improvement in seed yield by 15-20 per cent with the presence of honey bees at two hives per hectare compared to the absence of hives (2005 Sabbahi). There is also the benefit of a uniform and early pod set with a much shorter flowering period of nearly four days which could benefit disease control.

If OSR is grown for seed the presence of bees also increases germination success from 83 per cent to 96 per cent. Oil content is also increases by approximately 4 per cent.

 

 

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