It is recommended to introduce QUADs into field 5-10 days prior to the first bloom. QUADs are designed to reach peak activity 2-3 weeks after delivery so this timing ensures peak activity matches peak bloom and also provides some buffer in the event of transport stress. Typically native pollen and nectar sources should be already available; dandelion, alder, willow, shepherds purse and other wildflowers usually flower several weeks prior to the earliest blooming crops (Blueberry/Haskap). Extra pollen and sugar water can be ordered if needed.
QUADs are shipped with sufficient pollen and sugar water to last through transport. They should be opened and introduced into the field or fed as soon as they are received.
Most importantly, handle the QUADs with care ( do not drop them or throw them onto pallets, etc.). Bumblebee colonies can be damaged by rough handling, and as a result the bees will spend several days repairing the hive instead of pollinating your crops! QUADs should be introduced into the field and the doors opened as soon as they are arrive. It is not necessary to cap the sugar water supply.
QUADs should be placed evenly throughout the field, ideally raised off the ground on a pallet. If the QUADs need to be grouped together for protection with electric fencing, it is recommended to group no more than 4-5 QUADs per enclosure. Stacking QUADs is not recommended. In high wind areas, secure QUADs with stakes and bungie cord; weighing down the top of the QUAD is not recommended as it can cause water to collect and leak into the QUAD.
QUADs should be placed in full sun until daytime temperatures regularly exceed 28C/82F. Koppert sells shade covers for QUADs, if needed.
QUADs can be moved by closing the door to the catch position (instructions are noted on side) 24 hours prior to moving them to a new location. Some bees are typically lost with each move, so it is not recommended to start hives in a staging area then move them to the pollination area.
QUADs are designed to pollinate for 6-8 weeks.
After 6-8 weeks QUAD colonies switch to producing only queen and male bees. Each new queen will mate and then leave the QUAD to start a new colony. Dispose of the QUAD after the pollination season. Bumblebees will not recolonize the old QUAD. It is important to remember that if a QUAD is more than 8 weeks old, there is a high likelihood that any remaining live bees will consist of mostly males and queens and will have less pollination value.
It is recommended that old QUADs be removed from the field and properly disposed of off site or burned. Old bumblebee hives can be a source of bee parasites or diseases which could carry over to contaminate next year’s QUADs or native pollinators.
Bumblebees can effectively forage up to 500 metres from the QUAD unit.
QUADs should be placed a minimum of 100 metres away from any honeybee hives. Honeybees can be very aggressive towards bumblebees stealing resources from the hive.
The paper mesh is there to slow the exit of bees from the hive. It will take them about 30 minutes after opening to chew through this mesh. This allows the bees time to calm down following the agitation of transport and minimizes chance of stings. This also helps to ensure that the bees are able to perform a proper orientation flight when they first exit the hive. Manual removal of the paper mesh is NOT recommended.
You can protect your QUADs from bears and other predators by placing them in an electric fence enclosure charged with a minimum of 6,000 volts. If it is necessary to group QUADs within a fenced area, it is not recommended to have more than 4-5 QUADs per enclosure. Do not stack QUADs.
The best way to determine the performance of the colonies inside a QUAD is by measuring the number of bees entering or exiting each colony over a 10 minute period. A colony (four colonies per QUAD) should be averaging a minimum of 1 enter/exit per minute under good flying conditions (17C/62F with no heavy wind or rain).
Yes! Ants can be very disruptive to bumblebee colonies as they steal the bees' resources and divert hive energy from foraging to hive protection. The simplest way to control ants is by using ant bait pesticide around the QUAD (i.e. Bonide Ant Killer Granules). Koppert also sells sticky tape that can be wrapped around the base of the QUAD to prevent ants from entering the hive.
If flying conditions are normal and bees are not leaving the hive, it typically means the colony has been damaged during placement or shipping and the bees are busy making repairs. This usually lasts no longer than three days. Please contact your Koppert representative if this is observed, especially if no activity is observed for more than three days.
This is a normal occurrence consisting of either queens and drones in the act of mating or newly mated queens getting ready to start new colonies.
Bumblebees will throw any dead bees outside the hive entrance. If you see a large number of dead bees immediately following delivery, this may indicate a problem in the logistics chain. If this issue occurs after placement in the field, it may be a sign of pesticide poisoning from the crop or another one nearby.