Biobest points to the shelf-life benefits of bumblebee pollination of strawberry crops, in addition to well established improvements in yield and quality
The benefits of bumblebee pollination of strawberry crops are well known in terms of their improvements to yield and quality, but research also demonstrates advantages for the fruit’s shelf-life.
“Bumblebees use a unique pollination method, ‘buzz’ pollination,” explained Biobest’s IPM and pollination specialist, Dr Liam Harvey. “Vibrating their wing muscles at a frequency of 200-400Hz, the buzzing causes anthers to vibrate, releasing large amounts of pollen on to the bumblebee.”
Bumblebees help with fruit set, delivering more strawberries per plant and a higher yield for growers. They also improve the overall quality, resulting in larger, more uniform fruits, as well as improved texture and flavour.
Alongside such improvements, Dr Harvey says pollination by bumblebees can have a significant impact on the shelf-life of the fruits.
“The shelf-life of strawberries is primarily determined by factors such as the fruits’ maturity, handling and storage practices and environmental conditions,” he says. “However, research has shown that bumblebee pollination can lead to improved shelf-life - through increased redness, a reduced sugar to acid ratio and improvements in firmness.”