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Wild bees could increase Quebec blueberry productionQuebec's Côte-Nord region has huge potential according to researchers and they look to expand on the 2.5 million kilograms of blueberries produced there every year but in order to do so require more bees for pollination.
The bees currently relied on to pollinate the region's blueberry crops wake up too late in the spring and don't reach peak activity when the blueberries are flowering.
One solution producers have turned to is bringing hives in from Lac-Saint-Jean and Ontario for the length of the blueberry season. But there aren't enough colonies available, and that slows the industry's expansion.
The area also lacks wild flower fields to maintain large populations of bees before and after blueberry season.
To overcome these problem and increase pollination, researchers are trying to integrate more resistant species of bees into the region.
Several species of wild bees are very effective in pollinating blueberry flowers, such as the Osmia Tersula bee. Researchers found a difficulty with this breed however as they do not form colonies, but by setting up nesting boxes around crops they believe they may be on the right track.
Publication date: 1/11/2017
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