A new pollinator species is set to become available to California growers in the coming year. Pollinator health has become an even bigger focus in recent years. An additional option to help the agricultural industry pollinate their crops presents a substantial opportunity. Koppert Biological Systems (KBS) will be launching a new pollinator tool that farmers will be able to deploy.
“We’re really excited because we’ve been working on a western pollinator for many years and so now we actually just this upcoming year are going to be launching our new Bombus vosnesenskii, we just call her ‘Voss’ for short,” said KBS Account Manager for the West, Chrissie Davis. “We have got permits to allow us to use them in greenhouses, but also outside for a variety of different crops.”
The company has been working with a bee species called Bombus impatiens, in hopes of developing a new pollinator for farmers. More than 20 years of research and development has been put into the effort. The species is native to the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains. Davis explains that ‘Voss’ is native to the pacific Northwest, California, and Baja.
KBS also raises additional bees aside from the new pollinator species. Davis explains that they have between seven and eight different pollinators that they work with. The company specifically works with different bumblebee species. “The pollinators that we’re working with, we started with greenhouse pollination of hydroponic tomatoes. Bumblebees are more suited to working in greenhouses because they are not dependent on UV light to navigate throughout the canopy. So, they’re very efficient pollinators, flying under cover,” said Davis.
With a headquarters in Oxnard, California, KBS also works with other insects. The company has a portfolio of predacious mites that can work within integrated pest management systems. Team members actively work with growers in mapping out a plan for addressing pests such as whiteflies and spider mites. “I spend quite a bit of my job just helping growers know which bugs that they can use and then what compatible chemistries work in their IPM systems so that we can end up with a positive result,” Davis noted.