Barrie Hills Farms buzzing with activity
Published Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:14PM EDT
The fields at Barrie Hills Farms are buzzing with activity.
Bumblebees have been brought in by the crates to help pollinate the blueberry crops.
“The flower of a blueberry is shaped kind of like a bell, and so wind or splashing rain will not move pollen from one flower to the next, so you need a bee or some sort of insect to visit,” explains farmer Morris Gervais who brought the worker bees to the farm.
Time is of the essence because the flowers only blossom for five days making proper pollination crucial. Gervais says the more robust bumblebee will work in the cold, rainy temperatures over honey bees because bumblebees are native to this area.
Four colonies of bumblebees were brought to the farm in plastic boxes from Koppert Canada, a company that breeds them at a facility in the United States. The company’s goal is to find natural and sustainable solutions to agricultural problems. “The model is partners with nature. You know, it’s using the things that, you know, are already in nature and using them in order to better the crops,” says Nazar Koronchevskyy with Koppert Canada.
“Our bumblebee population is really, really strong in this area,” Gervais says. “I believe [it’s] because we’ve been bringing them in for so long.”
The quads will remain at Barrie Hill Farms all summer before the Queen bee will leave to start a new colony of her own somewhere on the farm.