It is the most common of three species found in Israel, located in Mount Hermon, upper Galilee, lower Galilee, and Mount Carmel. The large insect—covered with black hair, with two wide yellow horizontal stripes and a white abdomen tip—has three distinctive advantages which make it superior to other pollinators, including the honeybee:
* The greenhouse tomato flower, which is exposed to little air movement and relatively high humidity when compared to open areas, needs shaking to be pollinated. Unlike the honeybee, the bumblebee is capable of vibrating the flower using their unique “buzz pollination” mechanism. This is superior to any other manual, artificial alternative.
* The bumblebee is less affected by adverse weather conditions as compared to the honeybee. Thus under conditions of rain, increased cloudiness. or at temperatures below 10º C (50º F), the honeybee stays inside the hive, whereas the activity of the bumblebee is not affected.
* Unlike the honeybee, the bumblebee is better adapted to perform under confined greenhouse conditions, as it is less inclined to look for alternative sources of pollen and nectar outside the greenhouse.
Bio-Bee hives come in a special ventilated, insulated, plastic box. The standard colony for tomato consists of the founder queen, a few dozen workers, pupae, larvae and eggs. This is a strong colony with an anticipated life expectancy of 5–10 weeks. The hive is provided with a sugar-water solution when used to pollinate flowers lacking nectar, such as the tomato plant.
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Source: From www.bio-bee.com
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