In the tomato cultivation under artificial light, it is worth the effort to install bumblebee hives with an automatic lock-in system. This keeps the bumblebees safe during the lighting periods. In addition, they will pollinate even more intensively when they are allowed to fly out.

The automatic lock-in system is particularly interesting in crops under artificial lighting and mainly for tomatoes. “Tomato growers who use bumblebees to pollinate their crops run the risk that the bees will fly into the artificial lights and die,” says Sam Gui, advisor at Biobest. “Thanks to our lock-in system, growers are able to keep their bumblebees inside when the lights are on.”

The lock-in system is also capable of protecting bumblebees when growers use chemicals on their crops, although this is less of an issue these days.

The lock-in system doesn’t only protects bumblebees; it also ensures more effective pollination. The time that the bumblebees can fly out is restricted and makes them work more intensively during this shorter period. “This is very interesting in the case of tomatoes,” says Sam Gui. After all, we know that pollination works better if it takes place in the morning, within a limited time span.” 

The Biobest automatic lock-in system can be operated both manually and remotely with a compressed air system. Every hive has two flight openings: one is for flying ‘in’ and the second is for flying ‘in and out’. The lock-in system ensures that growers are able to close off the ‘in and out’ opening. At that point the bumblebees can only enter their hive but not leave it again. The system resembles miniature apartments with six bumblebee hives. By means of an air cylinder and solenoid valve, the hives can easily be remotely opened or closed.

For more information 
Biobest Belgium NV
T: +32 14 25 79 80+32 14 25 79 80
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