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Buzz Pollination

Buzz pollination is essential for greenhouse tomatoes and blueberries. It’s a pollination technique that’s unique to bumblebees and certain solitary bees, and it’s a skill that honeybees don’t have. For growers of especially tomatoes and blueberries, buzz pollination has become essential for the effective production of these and other valuable crops. At Koppert Biological Systems, we receive many enquiries about this natural bumblebee skill that involves the rapid contraction of the bee’s thoracic (chest) muscles to get the wings beating rapidly to produce vibration and sonic (buzzing) sound. The act of vibrating in this way is called ‘sonication’ and that resembles that of a tuning fork. The flowers of buzz pollinated plants are often tubular and the pollen is hard to reach by other insects. Bumblebees use their buzzing skills to dislodge the pollen from the anthers in this highly effective way, enabling them to collect it successfully and bring it to the hive.

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