Feb 4, 2022Beeflow, Watts Solitary Bees introduce blue orchard bees to almond orchards
Beeflow announced Feb. 3 their plan to develop multi-species pollination programs for the agriculture industry, in partnership with Watts Solitary Bees, a leading solitary bee rearing company. The companies will introduce blue orchard bees to pollinate almond orchards in California beginning this month. Multi-species pollination allows growers to overcome different pollination challenges, deliver higher crop yields and begin to undo the negative effects we have had on our environment by relying only on honeybees.
“Farmers have relied mainly on honeybees for pollination for many years, but with more than 20,000 bee species in the world there is opportunity to create a more sustainable and regenerative agriculture,” said Matias Viel, Beeflow founder & CEO. “The development of multi-species pollination programs for farmers is a small but important step toward our vision of bringing biodiversity back to agriculture and reversing the effect humans have caused to nature by relying solely on honeybees.”
Blue orchard bees are a wild species native to North America and are considered superior pollinators of tree fruits, partially due to their shape. They are solitary bees, meaning they do not live in colonies like honeybees, and as such, readily nest in artificial nesting materials such as paper straws, cardboard tubes or wood blocks, which makes them great candidates for propagation. As their name implies, they love orchards – almond, apple, stone fruit and pear – and are a complement to the pollination of honeybees. In fact, researchers on the Integrated Crop Pollination Project found that using managed blue orchard bees and honeybees together in almond orchards improves pollination and increases nut set.
“Blue orchard bees are some of the smartest insects in the world, and we have been studying their behavior with scientists for more than 20 years,” said Jim Watts, CEO, Watts Solitary Bees. “We are excited to partner with Beeflow to scale blue orchard bees adoption in agriculture and we believe that Beeflow’s science-based approach to crop pollination is the answer to increased sustainability and crop yields.”
With bees responsible for pollinating more than 70% of food crops around the world, caring for bees and their well-being is an important part of the global food chain. Beeflow has developed a portfolio of proprietary technologies, which includes an exclusive, plant-based bee diet supplement that enhances the immune system of bees, making them healthier and able to fly at lower temperatures, and “training” for bees to condition them to pollinate target crops and making them less distracted by other flowers. These technologies, coupled with the company’s expertise in crop pollination and chemical ecology, have shown increases in crop yields of 20-90%, depending on the specific crop.