A novel approach for the delivery of natural pesticides has been put forward by a Canadian startup company, making use of the natural pollen-distributing services carried out by regular bees.
The Vancouver-based company, Bee Vectoring Technology, is making use of a concept originally developed by researchers at the University of Guelph, where bees can be used to distribute natural, powdered pesticides and beneficial fungi directly to fruit blossoms. Traditional spraying methods currently require chemical agents to be heavily diluted, and are sprayed over the entirety of the crop, instead of where it’s needed. Bees, on the other hand, only concern themselves with the plant’s blossoms, of which are susceptible to fungal infections, resulting in fruit that can have a reduced shelf-life, or be ruined altogether.
This concept is simply an extension to the function bees already perform naturally, that of picking up and depositing pollens from flower to flower. This new technique simply adds trays of the intended pesticides to existing beehives, where the bees would walk through the trays, picking up the powder, before making their collection rounds.
The anti-fungal agent being used is a natural one that the bees have been naturally carrying all along, it will just now be in a greater concentration. Michael Collinson, Bee Vectoring Technology president and CEO, says that his company has spent years ensuring that the agents are safe for the bees. "The bees are actually already carrying it, but they don’t carry it that often," he says. "So what we’re doing as a company, what happens once in a while in nature, we’re making it happen consistently."