Pollination Service

Why use a pollination service

Managed honey bee pollination is the most efficient way to achieve this from top fruits and soft fruits to arable crops such as oil seed rape (OSR), field beans and borage. The increased size of today's fields and orchards along with the high costs incurred using artificial fertilisers mean that farmers should be looking to consider the benefits of managed pollination. 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 (bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies) are at an all-time low and most feral honey bee colonies have been lost to varroa, yet another reason that pollination management has become increasingly important to the farmer and the environment. Natural pollinators such as bumblebees and solitary bees are very small colonies or even just individual adults in 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 honey 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 equates to 300 bumblebee colonies.

Oil Seed Rape (OSR) -  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 (Sabbahi, 2005). 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 also increases by approximately four per cent.

Field Beans - Field beans will have more pods set on the lower trusses and can increase yield by 11 cwt per acre (1380 kg / ha) with the introduction of managed hives.

Borage - A high level of pollination is essential for borage to produce maximum yields. The flower heads of borage plants open for one day only. Therefore, it is crucial to get hives to the crop just before flowering begins. Trials in New Zealand showed 20 per cent increase in yield when hives were introduced to the crop.

Top Fruit and Soft Fruit - These all benefit from managed pollination. Quality is far superior, seed content is high making for better shape fruit and higher yields. The calcium content in apples is increased with insect pollination giving the fruit a longer storage life.

Why Use Paynes

As one of the largest bee farmers in the South East, we are setup ready to deploy any number of required hives. We have 3 generations of bee handling experience so can ensure strong, healthy colonies to maximise the pollination. You can contact us through the Bee Farmers Association or direct at pollination@paynes-beefarm.com or on 01273 843388