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Bee Vectoring Technology: Harnessing the Power of Nature’s Best Workers

Bee Vectoring Technology: Harnessing the Power of Nature’s Best Workers

Agriculture | Jun, 2023

Crop fields and pastures occupy more than 40% of global landscape. The way food is grown on these vast swathes of lands is putting pressure on nature, negatively impacting soil biodiversity. For centuries, government agencies and agribusinesses have pursued the holy grail of maximizing crop yield through fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. Continuous agriculture abuse and high intensity farming have depleted the soil of essential nutrients, killing off microorganisms that create organic materials essential to plants. Rapidly growing population is creating pressure on the already stressed agricultural ecosystem, leading to enhanced use of synthetic fertilizers to keep growing crops and destroy the functionality of soil even more. Not only that, up to 98% of crop spray does not even stay on the plant, instead it bounces straight off and accumulates in the soil, run off in the waterways, or linger in air in the form of microparticles. Now that the focus on sustainability is growing, farmers and researchers are already finding solutions to perform farming without compromising the natural environment. Thanks to the emergence of innovative technologies, it is now possible to redesign the global food systems and make them sustainable.

How Bee Vectoring Technology works?

Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) has emerged as a comprehensive solution to replace chemical pesticides with a natural crop protection system. The innovative approach utilizes the power of bees as natural pollinators with precision of targeted biological control methods. Bees ensure the reproduction of many agricultural crops, but they are susceptible to various pests and diseases. The BVT technology uses commercially reared bumblebees as “living drones” to deliver minute spores of completely organic pesticides into flowering food crops. Using the natural pollination process, bee vectoring technology provide safe, organic crop treatment products for crops, help them control pests and diseases while enabling farmers to achieve higher yields. A dispenser system is incorporated into the commercial bumblebee hives consisting of a powdered form of the inoculant crop control and a mixture of products that sticks to lower body and legs and bees. When bees exit the beehive, they carry that powder to each flower they pollinate and allow the grower to deliver highly targeted crop protection. Making 1000 pollinating trips a day, these bees are capable of visiting about 10 flowers in a minute and carry more pollen than their bee counterparts.

Compared to traditional chemical pesticides, BVT provides better crop protection and enhances the health of soil, microbiome, and the environment. The two essential components of BVT are the essential microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria or other natural agents and delivery system involving equipping bees with special dispensing devices that distribute the microorganisms onto the crops during pollination.

Here are some of the benefits of using BVT over conventional farming practices.

  • Ensures Environment Sustainability

Bee vectoring technology lowers reliance on chemical pesticides and minimize their negative impact on the environment, leaving only tiny carbon footprints along the food production line. Many research studies and field trials conducted on BVT have demonstrated that the all-natural solution controls diseases, improve crop yields through the bee application of biological fungicides. Besides, BVT utilizes minute quantities of natural biopesticides to reach target blooms. Thus, fewer chemical agents than conventional crop-spraying produces less waste as a by-product. A standard pesticide spraying can require up to 600 gallons of water in just one acre, that too, three times per season. Hence, the targeted delivery with minimum risk of drift uses far less water than conventional products. The innovative approach is safe for the bee and the environment, and now it is gaining prominence across the world as businesses are committing to sustainable agriculture. As consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the harmful impact of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the environment, the demand for bee vectoring technologies is expected to grow further. The BVT system is much more affordable to small growers as it does not rely on large investments on machinery.

  • Enhanced Crop Protection

Majority of plants tend to be hydrophobic, which means that the water-based compounds run off the waxy leaves. Only 2-5% of what is sprayed by farmers sticks onto the crops. On the contrary, the targeted delivery of beneficial microorganisms to the flowers ensures effective coverage and protection against pests and diseases. Bees are naturally attracted to flowers and their visitation ensures that biopesticides or plant stimulants are transferred precisely. The BVT method offers meaningful organic certification of produce and higher efficiency of flower protection. Moreover, BVT utilizes biopesticides composed from natural sources such as beneficial bacteria or fungi. These biopesticides are specific to pests they target and minimize harm to insects and pollinators. Bees visiting flowers not only leads to improved crop protection, but also result in increased crop yields. Additionally, crops do not develop a resistance to the compound as they do to chemical pesticides with BVT since the innovative solution makes use of the combination of microorganisms, which makes them less susceptible to resistance development. This help in ensuring long-term protection for the crops.

  • Preservation of Pollinator Population

Reducing the exposure of bees to harmful chemicals can help maintain a healthy bee population. This would support pollination process and enhance the sustainability of crop production. Bees are the primary pollinators, responsible for pollinating over 70% of the world’s food crops. Plants would not be able to reproduce without pollination and hence bees are necessary for the food we depend on. In past few years, there has been a massive decline in bee populations due to habitat loss, growing use of pesticides, climate change, and diseases. Harmful chemicals sprayed on crops can paralyze or even kill bees. If honeybees go extinct, plants that rely on pollinators would not survive. However, BVT technology can help to preserve and protect the bee population as the bio controls used during the process are all organic and do not harm the bee. In a way, BVT promotes the well-being of bees, providing them a safe and health environment, which could contribute to maintaining biodiversity and sustainability of ecosystems.