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dcarch July 4, 2006 11:49 PM

Good Vibrations-Flight Of The Electric Bumblebee(pics+video)
It seems to me that is has been proven that mechanical pollinator increases fruit set. Many of you try to use electric toothbrush to accomplish this.
The electric pollinators you can buy costs from $16 to $200 (batteries not included). Electric toothbrushes are not cheap either.
As you know many tomato plants are 8 to 10 feet tall and you cannot really get to the blossoms very well with the above devices. Some of you tie the toothbrush to a stick to extend its reach. This tool (42”, longer if you use longer components) plus your arm’s length plus your height will allow you to reach 10 feet or higher.

For those of you who are somewhat handy, you may want to give this a try.
Materials needed:
1. Artist brush. ($1.50)
2. Flashlight ($3.00)
3. Multi-section antenna ("#34;_5-SECTION_ANTENNA_.html) $1.00
4. Rubber tube
5. Micro motor ( $1.25
6. Wire.
The key component is a micro motor (D) which is used in pagers and cell phones. The only difficulty in making this gadget is the soldering of the wire to the motor connectors (C ).
The motor is wired to the flashlight’s light bulb connections. The idea is to use the flashlight as a battery holder and switch. You don’t need the light bulb.
Take off the wooden stick from the artist brush. I was able to find a brush which fits exactly over the motor. (B)
Sleeve the brush over the motor and secure it with a drop of Crazy Glue (B).
Solder the wire to the motor’s wires( C ).
The rubber tube holds the motor and connects the motor/brush assembly to the antenna. The rubber tube allows the motor/brush to vibrate freely (E).
Next drill two holes in the flashlight lens; One to attach the antenna and one for the wire to go through (F & G).
Insert the batteries and give the thing a try. You now have an electric pollinator that is adjustable from 14 inches to 42 inches. I can reach the tallest plant with this fully extended (I & J).
Obviously, depends what you can find in your garage odds and ends, you can substitute components.
I am amazed how well this thing vibrates and it actually makes a buzzing sound just like a bee! When weather conditions are marginal and not conducive to pollination, I believe this tool can make a world of difference.
Good luck and have tons of toms




Lee July 5, 2006 06:40 AM

Nice setup and great pics to help get it together easily!
Thanks for sharing!

I especialy like the antenna extension to allow you to
reach inside each plant without as much fuss.


dcarch July 6, 2006 11:29 AM

Thanks for your comments.
Have you seen my video? doen't it sound like a bumblebee?

For many years I have grown tomatoes, I have never realized that tomatoes have very speical requirements for blossoms to set fruit. I have learned a lot in this Forum since. I tried many different things, including BlossomSet spray without much success.

Having read about "Sonication by specialized bees" and that commercial growers use mechanical vibrators to increase fruit set. I feel that just shaking the plant and counting on wind to do the job is not optimal, I therefore spent a couple of dollars and 30 minutes of work to build my vibrator.

I know I don't have enough data yet, but since I started to use the vibrator, I have noticed a drastic increase in fruit set!


dcarch July 11, 2006 05:05 PM

Today, I counted 37 fruits set on one of the BWs and the picture is showing fruits set on part of the Green Zebra.

GZ is close to 100% fruit set (one cat face) while BW is a little more difficult.

I don't know if this is because of the electric vibrator (no control comparisions), but certainly it did not hurt.
:P :D :) :lol: :wink:

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