25.000 solitary bees arrived to Nin area!
This year we are becoming a new home for 25.000 hard-working solitary bees, which will contribute in producing high-quality and nutritious cherry fruit.
This year our orchard becomes a home for solitary bees! This week 25.000 cocoons locally produced by two Croatian breeders arrived. By including this innovation, we intend to keep up with modern European orchards. This innovative and professional agricultural method improves pollination of flowers, so that we can produce high-quality, nutritious and juicy cherry fruit during may.
This is the first time to use solitary bees in such a large area in Republic of Croatia. For our bees, which have an important role of cherry flower pollination, we secured 100 wooden houses filled with canes, so that they can leave their offspring for future years.
Solitary bees don't live in beehives, swarm, have a queen or workers, but instead they do everything by themselves, so that's why we call them solitary or mason bees. They are also called “orchard bees“, for their early end of hibernation, during flowering of fruit orchards. Number of solitary bees in the nature depends on the amount of proper nesting sites.
Solitary bees fly during lower temperatures than honey bees, even at 8 °C, which makes them ideal species for early flowering fruit trees pollination – pears, almonds and cherries. Our 20 varieties of cherries will be pollinated by species Osmia rufa and Osmia cornuta, which are peaceful and non-stinging bees. They are adapted for flying during windy weather, which is important considering orchard location, near Nin, with plenty of bura wind. The houses for bees are placed all over the orchard for ideal pollination of cherry trees, considering solitary bees' flight range, which is 200 to 250 meters away from selected house. By introducing solitary bees in our orchard, we secure optimal cherry yield during this season.
Bees collect pollen and nectar from march to beginning of June. During that period the females secure food for 6 to 8 larvae, after which they die. Each year adult bees create only one brood. For reproduction they use cane stalks placed inside the houses, in which they lay eggs and protect them with mud barriers. Larvae develop after few days, but they stay inside the cane until next spring for full development.
The efficiency in fruit trees pollination of one female solitary bee (Osmia rufa) can be compared to efficiency of 120 honey bees (Apis mellifera). Unlike honey bees, solitary bees don't prefer certain plant species so they can be used for wider range of agricultural plant species. Solitary bees aren't competition for honey bees or bumblebees, so they can pollinate orchards together. By using this innovative method, our orchard is the largest one in Republic of Croatia with solitary bees usage. Their usage is considered a modern trend in fruit and vegetable production all over the world. Considering bees a threatened species worldwide, we stimulate further increase of this exceptionally useful species.
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