Israeli bumblebees fly ‘first-class’ to Japan to pollinate produce

A bumblebee. Credit: Joaquim Alves Gaspar via Wikimedia Commons.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Israeli bumblebees are being sent to Japan to help make up for a lack of bees caused by the increased use of pesticides in that country’s rice fields.

The Israeli bees are being sent to Japan inside spacious hives, each of which contains an impregnated queen bee and 50 worker bees that supply her needs. The Bio Bee firm, based at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, which raises and ships the bees, takes care to ensure the queen and her minions have as comfortable a flight as possible with “first-class” conditions and a short layover in Moscow.

When they arrive in Japan, the bees are sent to greenhouses in farms through the country, where they work busily to pollinate the produce, a process vital to ensure a good harvest.

Bio Bee’s mass-produced earth bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) are created for pollination purposes only. They have been bred to fulfill their mission even when the temperature drops, as well as in rainy, cloudy weather, when bees do not naturally work and prefer to huddle up in their warm hives. As the bees suck up nectar from a flower, they shake it, which helps disseminate the pollen.

The pollinating bees have for years been helping Israeli farmers, who are also affected by the global decline in the honeybee population. The advantage of these particular bees is that they tend to stay inside the closed greenhouse, rather than flying out to cultivate other people’s fields.

Posted on July 13, 2015 .