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The Bombus and the Blueberry

The Bombus and the Blueberry

The noble blueberry, hallmark of pies and jams, stalwart sidekick to the pancake, and all-around delicious snack. The American favorite has seen its popularity soar in recent years and is being hailed as one of the last great nutritional superfoods. However, with demand sky-high, growers have been struggling to export enough blueberries to keep the supply going year round. Enter Chile.

In the last 30 years, Chile has gone from a blueberry newbie to the undisputed leader of South America. With its flipped seasonal cycle, impressive infrastructure, and history of advanced agriculture, Chile was well-positioned to dominate the export market. However, Chile has gotten help from an unsuspecting little source: Bombus terrestris, AKA the Bumblebee.

Bombus on iceThe Bombus is an impressive little workhorse whose sole purpose is pollination, and its selection is by no means arbitrary. No pollinator can work in more diverse conditions. Ice cold weather, cloudy skies, plastic covering – none of it stands between a Bumblebee and its pollen. And most importantly, the Bombus doesn’t produce honey, so it has to go out every single day and work hard to bring home that pollen and nectar to feeds its kids (or you know, larva).

It is also downright better at collecting pollen than any other bee. The Bombus will fasten its jaws onto the rim of the flower and hang upside down while holding on with their legs. They will then vibrate the flower using the same powerful muscles that help them fly, buzzing the flower to siphon off all the pollen and nectar they can carry. They work longer days, and will never rob the flower of its nectar without collecting some pollen as honeybees are wont to do. Dependable and trustworthy.

BioBee acquired its name by pioneering the use of the Bombus as a tool for natural pollination. While the Blueberry is self-pollinating, using the Bombus to promote pollination has a number of extraordinary and tangible benefits. Naturally pollinated blueberry bushes produce a much more impressive yield and a much more impressive blueberry. The bushes produce fatter, higher quality blueberries with a longer shelf-life, making them perfect for export.

Who hasn’t spent time picking the plumpest blueberries out of the package? The staggering amount of research BioBee has done makes sure that the entire package is top quality.

Difference in blueberry sizesThe secret is in the seeds. Pollinated blueberries produce a great deal of seeds, which the plant recognizes, producing a bigger, juicier fruit. The berry is sweeter, with more sugars, which in turn improve the shelf-life. So trust me, you want your blueberries pollinated, and no one does that better than BioBee.

BioBee has helped make Chile one of the most successful producers of blueberries in the world, so the next time you’re sitting down to a towering stack of blueberry pancakes, make sure you thank the humble Bombus for those plump sweet spots!