Yang Encheng, a professor of entomology at National Taiwan University, led a team to develop queen-free pollination technology.

(Photo by reporter Yang Yuanting)

[Reporter Yang Yuanting/Taipei Report] In the past, farmers had to pollinate melons and fruits in greenhouses. They either relied on manual pollination that required a lot of manpower, or they had to buy bee hives from beekeepers that had just harvested honey and had queen bees. Yang Encheng's team has made a unique technological breakthrough in the world, replacing the queen bee with queen bee pheromones. The cost is only 1/3 of the traditional queen bee hive, and the output is 3 times higher, which can reduce farmers' costs and increase their income.

Climate change is an irreversible trend, and agriculture bears the brunt. In recent years, in order to combat climate adversity, the government and academia have invested in breeding. The Council of Agriculture has also actively promoted the cultivation of melon and fruit crops in greenhouses. Yang Encheng said that greenhouse facilities can allow oriental fruit flies, Spodoptera litura Pests and other pests cannot enter, but pollinating insects and bees cannot enter, so pollination operations usually rely on artificial pollination, or buy beehives with queen bees from beekeepers for pollination.

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In the past, the cost per hectare for artificial pollination was more than 8,000 yuan per hectare per month, and even 36,000 yuan during the peak season of manpower demand. In traditional beehives, because there are many bees and the source of honey powder is single, the bees are more ferocious under starvation. Farmers also need to supplement molasses to feed bees, which is easy to bite farmers. In addition, worker bees often die after hitting glass or nets. In addition, the pollination season of melons and fruits is mostly from March to May, and beekeepers often let bees collect longan honey or lychee honey during this time. Farmers must cooperate with beekeepers when they are not collecting honey.

"It's like throwing away the textbook." Yang Encheng said that in the past, worker bees (field bees) were urged to gather honey. The textbooks said that the queen bee must secrete pheromones, but the team replaced the queen bee with pheromones. The worker bees were divided into office bees and field bees. Yang Encheng said that in the past, it took 21 days for office bees to turn into field bees. With this method, it only takes 3-5 days. Because there is no queen bee to produce young bees, worker bees do not need to continuously collect honey, but they can still reach 99.9 % of the pollination effect, to further increase the yield, the beehive uses the Italian bee that is suitable for the global crop block, can be mass-produced in batches, and will not be affected by the season, the same 2-point greenhouse farmland only needs to use 2 nests slices, less than the traditional need to use 8 slices.

Yang Encheng pointed out that the queen-free pollination beehives are currently in 88 greenhouses across Taiwan, and 12 kinds of crops include cantaloupe, mino melon, strawberry, loofah, bitter gourd, large cucumber, small cucumber, jujube, zucchini, blueberry, sweet peach, lantern fruit The results are good. In the case of strawberries, in the past artificial pollination often resulted in deformed fruit, but the strawberries that passed through the queen-free pollination box did not have this problem. He also said that currently no other country in the world has developed the queen-free pollination box technology. A patent has been applied for, and it is hoped that it can be promoted in other countries in the future.