The importance of pollination

Pollinators, especially bees, play a vital role in the pollination of apple blossoms transforming them into fruit. Without the bees, there would be no apples!

Naturally it follows that pollination is key to quantity, but it is also a factor of quality! For several days over the spring period, Pink Lady® producers introduce hives to their orchard, so that thousands of foraging bees can accomplish this task.

Apple producers working side by side with beekeepers

To ensure effective pollination occurs. Pink Lady® works in close collaboration with professional beekeepers.

Nothing is left to chance: first and foremost: they must respect the natural cycles, take meteorological data into account and, in particular, understand the specificities of the variety: the Pink Lady blossom occurs before any other, yet it is one of the last apples to be harvested.

The success of this partnership depends on both the hive’s healthy development for the beekeeper and the needs of the apple producer.
Together, they decide on the optimal conditions to facilitate the bee’s work. The location of the hives is key. They are always sheltered from the wind and exposed to the rising sun, so that with the first rays of sunlight, the bees wake and leave the hive to pollinate the flowers.

The Bee Pink project

In partnership with experts from the agricultural and apicultural spheres, the Pink Lady® Europe Association has created the Bee Pink programme to share good arboricultural practices with the aim of protecting bees.

The fruit of many hours of research and rigorous sharing of information, Bee Pink is a training programme for all Pink Lady producers. It includes events to meet with beekeepers and learn about their work, as well as the creation and diffusion of a guide that combines information about techniques as well as regulations and practical advice.

Key points for the conservation of bees in the orchard

  1. For successful pollination : lthe presence of domestic and wild bees has a positive effect on the weight and shape of the fruit, as well as the number of pips…the whole fruit, really! That is why Pink Lady® producers set up hives in their orchards in the spring.
  2. Provide bed and breakfast : Bees eat between 20 and 50 kg of pollen per day! So building hedges and leaving wild land around the orchard means that the bees and their forager friends will have plenty to eat and places to roam.
  3. Create a water source and monitor its quality : A colony of bees requires 8 litres of water per week during peak activity time. Ensuring there is a water source, such as a pond, near the orchard, means the bees won’t have to travel so far, leaving them more time to pollinate! Don’t forget to add some form of platform to prevent drowning!
  4. Respect the bees all year round : While very present during the blossom, bees, especially wild bees, are present all year round, day and night! That is why responsible production techniques are key to the bees’ conservation.