Bee Vectoring Technologies, a Canadian team of innovators, uses bees for pest and disease control. The company was recognized with awards for their revolutionary approach in precision application technology and biocontrol. Their groundbreaking idea involved using bees to transfer biological control substances to plants, providing natural protection against diseases and pests.
The innovative method of using bees for pest and disease control has significant implications for sustainable agriculture. It reduces the need for harmful chemical pesticides and improving crop yields. BVT’s pioneering work has earned them international recognition as leaders in the fight against agricultural threats.
BVT system is leading the way in sustainable farming through the use of biological control, also known as biocontrol. This method involves the use of other organisms to control pests like insects, mites, weeds, and plant diseases. Instead of relying on harmful pesticides, farmers can use BVT’s biocontrol approach to manage their crops in an eco-friendly way. By introducing natural enemies, like bees, that prey on harmful pests, BVT’s system promotes healthy and sustainable farming practices. This innovative approach to agriculture not only benefits the environment but also ensures a higher quality of produce for consumers.
BVT-CR7 is a naturally occurring endophytic fungus that resides within various plant species without causing harm. This particular strain of fungus has not undergone genetic modification or alteration. It does not induce systemic responses, nor does it produce substances that are harmful to plant tissue.
The fungus can be found worldwide in a plethora of plants and soils, and is harmless to humans. Moreover, it is commonly known to both bees and plants. Once it’s delivered to crops by bees, it has a lifespan of 24-48 hours, in which it will naturally die out if it cannot find a suitable host plant.
Using bees for pest and disease control is more convenient and environmentally friendly than spaying pesticides. In addition it increases plant resistance and enhances plant growth. In addition, it gives treated flowers a natural built-in protection against diseases. The fruit consequently last longer and has a longer shelf life, which is beneficial for growers and consumers alike. Growers have additional valuable time to deliver to the market, whereas the end buyers have longer to consume the pesticide-free or organic fruit.
How does the Technology Work?
BVT’s Vectorpak™ dispenses powder material to commercially-reared bees as they enter through a one-way flap and exit through another portal. The bees pick up the powder material as they pass through the dispenser, carrying it with them out of the hive.
This innovative system ensures that the bees do not reject the powder material when it adheres to their bodies, and provides an efficient and effective way to deliver treatments to bee colonies. The powder material, enhanced with natural compounds, helps to improve the overall health and vitality of the bees, increasing their resistance to disease and environmental stressors.
The bees then act as carriers for biological control substances that are added to Vectorite. These substances are delivered to the plants when the bees make contact with them. This process is highly effective in controlling pests and diseases in plants while minimizing the use of harmful chemicals. The use of all-natural and safe substances makes this method environmentally sustainable and beneficial for both the bees and the plants.
What Bees can be used?
BVT uses commercially-reared honey bees to deliver the biological control substances for open fields. For certain crops and for indoor pollination, Bumblebees are better. Vectorite can be spread by honey bees and bumblebees, whereby the latter tend to be a better option. This is because of several reasons: bumblebees are less aggressive, can carry more powder, fly in colder temperatures and wetter climates, require no maintenance, training or specialty equipment, and have hives that lasts longer.
Consistent Reduction of Fungal Infections
According to research conducted by Rutgers, one of America’s top public research universities, the BVT technology has successfully demonstrated its ability to consistently reduce fungal infections in blueberries, an important crop in several parts of North America. Rutgers explained,
¨For example, they carry the CR-7 (Clonostachys rosea) biological fungicide, from BVT hives placed in blueberry crops. This bio-fungicide has been proven to protect blueberries and keep them healthy and marketable. Delivered by bees, it worked just as well as standard spraying programmes with up to 12 applications of chemical fungicides that can be harmful to plants, soil, water, pollinators and workers in the fields.¨
In their 2022 trial, Rutgers researchers also closely monitored the condition of honeybees within the BVT system and compared them to those in fields utilizing a traditional fungicide spray program. Based on the results, honeybees in the BVT system exhibited superior health when compared to their counterparts in fungicide-treated fields. These findings demonstrate the effectiveness of BVT technology in promoting healthier crops and preserving the well-being of valuable pollinators like honeybees.
¨BVT says its award-winning technology, precision vectoring, is completely harmless to bees and allows minute amounts of naturally-derived pesticides (called biologicals) to be delivered directly to blooms, providing improved crop protection and yield results compared to traditional chemical pesticides, while improving the health of the soil, the microbiome and the environment. At the same time, the bees pollinate the plants.¨
The value of a continuously working system is recognized by a growing number of customers. This is in contrast to the intermittent spraying of chemicals, which is often hampered by bad weather. The system can be applied not only for blueberries, but also for other berry crops, oilseed rape, sunflowers, apples and tomatoes. Additionally, BVT markets CR-7 as a seed treatment for soybeans. Conducted trials have resulted in a yield increase of approximately 6% .
A company spokesman of BVT stated,
“Essentially, our solution harnesses the power of nature’s best workers, helping growers improve crop quality with a significant decrease in the use of chemicals”