Bombus bees are produced in laboratories to be used in greenhouses
With the ‘bombus bee’ project of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, in Turkey, bombus bees are produced under laboratory conditions. These bees ensure the fertilization of the products grown in greenhouses without the use of hormones and increase the yield. Bombus bees will increase the yield and quality by ensuring the hormone-free growth of eggplant, pepper, and other vegetables, especially tomatoes. It is also important for products such as melons and strawberries. While greenhouse cultivation is carried out on 81.000 hectares in Turkey, it is estimated that this area will expand with increasing momentum due to reasons such as global warming, population growth, and price stability. Bombus bees constitute the most important group after honey bees in the pollination of plants and are widely used, especially in greenhouse cultivation. While 600,000 of bombus bee families were sold in the country in the 2022-2023 season, the price for March 2023 was determined as 27 USD per colony. While greenhouse cultivation in Turkey is carried out in large areas in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions, the Directorate of Beekeeping Research Institute, which is the only beekeeping central unit of Turkey, evaluates the project activities carried out by growers. It has been determined that the use of bombus bees in greenhouses in the Black Sea Region was not common, especially in the pollination in tomato cultivation.
Thereupon, the project ‘Determination of Colony Characteristics and Suitability for Mass Production of Bombus Population in the Central Black Sea Coast Region’ was developed by the General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies (TAGEM). Within the scope of the project, the ‘Bombus Research and Application Laboratory’ was established in order to meet the needs of the sector and to ensure the commercialization potential of local bombus bee resources. The production of bombus bees in the laboratory environment started at the beginning of 2023. Bombus bees produced in the laboratory will be used in greenhouses in the provinces of the Black Sea Region. Within the scope of the studies carried out for the production of bombus bees, known as the ‘natural workers’ of the greenhouses, many colonies were obtained by enabling the ‘bombus terrestris’ breed queens to reproduce in the special climatization room created within the institute.
While bombus bees produced in the laboratory ensure the growth of eggplant, pepper, and other vegetables, especially tomatoes grown in greenhouses in the provinces of the Black Sea Region, without using hormones, it is aimed to increase the yield and quality of the products without disturbing the balance of nature. Thanks to bombus bees, which are used to help fertilize vegetables in greenhouse cultivation, labor costs are also reduced. A bombus bee visits 4,800 flowers in one day during its foraging activities.
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