The development of best management practices of commercial bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) on horticultural crops in Delaware

Marchese, Jacquelyn
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University of Delaware
Commercial bumble bees first became available in the 1980s in the Netherlands. Since then commercial bumble bees have grown in popularity amongst growers as honey bee populations continue to decline. Currently, bumble bees are the leading pollinator in the greenhouse tomato crop, and are so advantageous that countries without the ability to import commercial bumble bees are at an economic disadvantage on the world’s stage. Much remains unknown, however, on their efficiency in horticultural crops and how to best manage these pollination units for optimal use. The goal of this project was to use scientific experimentation to develop the Best Management Practice document for growers in Delaware on how to best use these units in horticultural crops. Chapter 1 divulges on the scientific experimentation conducted during the 2011 and 2012 growing season on these pollination units in strawberry, watermelon, and pickling cucumber crops in Ken and Sussex counties in Delaware. Chapter 2 is the developed Best Management Practice document written for the sole use of Delaware growers.