AFTER several years of absence, bees are returning to fruit growers Roma and Angelo Spiccia’s Pickering Brook orchard.
The couple, who grow predominantly peaches and avocados, had noticed significantly fewer bees around their trees, which was affecting their crops.
“We’ve been noticing the last three or four years there are very little bees hanging around,” Mr Spiccia said.
“We were getting worried about this season’s crop and concerned that we wouldn’t get fruit this year.”
Mrs Spiccia contacted their horticultural supplier Rob Illiano of Mirco Bros who suggested a new product he had acquired, SPLAT (Specialised Pheromone and Lure Application Technology) Bloom. The American product uses pheromones to attract honeybees to flowering crops for increased pollination.
The experienced orchardists decided to try it, applying a small dab of SPLAT Bloom on every third of fourth flowering tree.
“Within the next day there were one to three bees per tree,” Mr Spiccia said.
“I was very impressed.”
Organic Crop Protectants’ WA manager Steven Shaw, who imports SPLAT Bloom from the US, told Mr and Mrs Spiccia that the absence of bees was likely due to other more attractive flowers in nearby bush.
“So applying the pheromone is bringing them back to our property,” Mrs Spiccia said.
“We have seen a huge difference.”
They now have to wait to see the results but are hopeful.
“When bees are around I know you’ll get fruit setting,” Mr Spiccia said.
Mr Illiano said the response from other growers was equally positive and he had sold out of the product in just four weeks.
“Looking at the results, they are looking pretty good,” he said.
“They have definitely seen more bees, some people won’t know until the crops, so another couple of months but at this stage it looks good.
“You know something works well when you run out.”