Study Shows Bumblebees Can Boost Blueberry Yield Big Time

Managed bee hive boxes around a blueberry field
Place managed hives adjacent to a blooming blueberry crop to obtain a good commercial yield.
Photo by Jason Deering

While it is common knowledge fruit crops, such as blueberries, need pollinators to produce, the type of pollinator can make a big difference between what is an average harvest versus what could be an all-out bounty. According to a new study conducted by UF/IFAS researchers, bumblebees can boost blueberry yield by 70%.

After caging bumblebee hives with a planting of southern highbush selections, researchers found that 70% of the flowers produced blueberries, while less than 10% of those without bumblebee hives produced fruit. This is helpful information for blueberry growers and confirmation for those who already employ bumblebees on their farms, said Joshua Campbell, a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department and co-author of the new study published in the journal Environmental Entomology.

UF/IFAS researchers conducted the experiment on a large commercial blueberry farm in North Florida and found good results.
The Sunshine State only has five bumblebee species. But most are fairly common in Central and North Florida, Campbell said. Only one of these – the type used in the UF/IFAS research – can be managed and utilized to pollinate.

In order to obtain a good commercial yield, a grower would need to augment the bumblebee population by placing hives within their fields, Campbell said.

The biggest chunk of Florida’s blueberry crop is grown in Alachua, Lake, Marion, Putnam, and Sumter counties, an area that accounts for about 40% of the state blueberry acreage. Next in acreage is an area that includes Hernando, Hillsborough, Orange, Pasco, and Polk counties.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Study Shows Bumblebees Can Boost Blueberry Yield Big Time

Berries Stories
Harvest CROO Robotics mobile strawberry picking platform
Berries
June 13, 2017
Robotic Strawberry Picker Ramping up for Rollout
Florida-based agtech company officially unveils autonomous mobile platform. Read More
Berries
June 10, 2017
Orange Rust Management Tips for Brambles
Disease is on the rise this season and can affect any propagated plant material. Read More
Berries
May 30, 2017
Exploring Biodegradable Plastic Mulches in Red Raspberry
As tissue culture plugs increase in popularity, growers are seeking ways to get these planting off to a good start. Read More
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry Breeding Lawsuit
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Longer Berry Season in Northeast
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
Berries
May 15, 2017
Grower Comments on Pyrethroids Being Sought by EPA
Comment period on popular class of insecticides opens today. Read More
Alto Straughn receives distinguished alumnus award from UF President Kent Fuchs
Berries
May 4, 2017
Florida Farming Pioneer Still Making the Honor Roll
Alto Straughn presented with University of Florida’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Read More
Berries
May 2, 2017
Southeastern Strawberry Growers Advised to Prepare for Disease Pressure
Recent rain is conducive to the main strawberry fruit rot diseases, according to the chief of the Southern Region IPM Center. Read More
Berries
April 26, 2017
Tips To Manage Winter-Damaged Blueberries
While low-chill varieties in Southern states may have experienced freeze damage for the second year in a row, giving those plants extra care will help ensure a good start to the 2018 growing season. Read More
The Hill family of Southern Hill Farms in Florida
Berries
April 13, 2017
Florida Farming Family Staying on Top of the Blueberry Game
The Hill family of Southern Hill Farms continues to up their efforts to diversify business and stay out ahead of a competitive market. Read More
Berries
April 10, 2017
North Carolina Blueberry Crop Still Kicking
Thanks to pruning cuts and a diverse mix of cultivars, the majority of the crop survived a series of March freezes. Read More
Closeup of Florida blueberries
Berries
April 6, 2017
Study Shows Bumblebees Can Boost Blueberry Yield Big Time
UF/IFAS researchers find placing hives of the distinct pollinator in the field pumps up output by 70%. Read More
Berries
March 30, 2017
Chateau Herbicide SW Now Registered for Use in Citrus, Caneberries
Broad spectrum preemergent herbicide to control broadleaf and grasses. Read More
SWD On Raspberry
Berries
March 26, 2017
Outsmarting SWD with Social Media
Entomologist in Kentucky uses social media for pest updates, trap catches. Read More
Freeze protected blueberry bushes in Florida
Berries
March 25, 2017
Florida Blueberry Crop Escapes Slap from Late-Season Cold Snap
Freeze protection tactics prove fruitful as local producers look to gain from Georgia’s loss. Read More
The Latest
Berries
June 27, 2017
Study Zeroes in on Sweet Spot for Florid…
Taste test proves farmers, marketers, and parents should be cognizant of kids’ consumer clout. Read More
Berries
June 20, 2017
Don’t Be Fooled By Rust in Your Brambles
Knowing whether you have orange rust disease or cane leaf rust is important for proper control methods. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for Nat…
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Berries
June 13, 2017
Robotic Strawberry Picker Ramping up for…
Florida-based agtech company officially unveils autonomous mobile platform. Read More
Berries
June 10, 2017
Orange Rust Management Tips for Brambles
Disease is on the rise this season and can affect any propagated plant material. Read More
Berries
May 30, 2017
Exploring Biodegradable Plastic Mulches …
As tissue culture plugs increase in popularity, growers are seeking ways to get these planting off to a good start. Read More
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry…
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Long…
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
Berries
May 15, 2017
Grower Comments on Pyrethroids Being Sou…
Comment period on popular class of insecticides opens today. Read More
Berries
May 4, 2017
Florida Farming Pioneer Still Making the…
Alto Straughn presented with University of Florida’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Read More
Berries
May 2, 2017
Southeastern Strawberry Growers Advised …
Recent rain is conducive to the main strawberry fruit rot diseases, according to the chief of the Southern Region IPM Center. Read More
Berries
April 26, 2017
Tips To Manage Winter-Damaged Blueberrie…
While low-chill varieties in Southern states may have experienced freeze damage for the second year in a row, giving those plants extra care will help ensure a good start to the 2018 growing season. Read More
Berries
April 13, 2017
Florida Farming Family Staying on Top of…
The Hill family of Southern Hill Farms continues to up their efforts to diversify business and stay out ahead of a competitive market. Read More
Berries
April 10, 2017
North Carolina Blueberry Crop Still Kick…
Thanks to pruning cuts and a diverse mix of cultivars, the majority of the crop survived a series of March freezes. Read More
Berries
April 6, 2017
Study Shows Bumblebees Can Boost Blueber…
UF/IFAS researchers find placing hives of the distinct pollinator in the field pumps up output by 70%. Read More
Berries
March 30, 2017
Chateau Herbicide SW Now Registered for …
Broad spectrum preemergent herbicide to control broadleaf and grasses. Read More
Berries
March 26, 2017
Outsmarting SWD with Social Media
Entomologist in Kentucky uses social media for pest updates, trap catches. Read More
Berries
March 25, 2017
Florida Blueberry Crop Escapes Slap from…
Freeze protection tactics prove fruitful as local producers look to gain from Georgia’s loss. Read More