Bee Facts

Pollination: nature’s perfect delivery system

Bees touch over 70% of everything that we eat and are used for pollination in 99% of greenhouses. Of the world’s 115 most important crops, 87 require pollination to produce fruits, nuts and seeds, accounting for 1/3 of the $3 trillion of agricultural produce sold each year. At BVT, we understand the incredible global implications of the pollination process, and as such are committed above all else to preserving bee health and vitality.

For more information about BVT, read these commonly asked questions about the impact of BVT’s system on bees and the environment. We will continue to update this FAQ page as new questions arise and as further details are established.

Bee health & safety

  • Do we harm bees?

    BVT uses commercially reared bumblebees; these are bred specifically for pollination. BVT’s own Vectorite and bio controls are all organic and do not harm the bee. Bees do not eat or consume our product. Care is taken to ensure precise measurements of Vectorite and/or inoculant to allow bees passage through the tray. It is vital bees stay healthy.

  • Follow up question: Do we harm humans?

    None of BVT’s products harm humans. The Vectorite components are all found and certified organic. BVT-CR7 is a naturally occurring fungus which when consumed immediately dies. If it does not find a suitable host on the plant within 24 hours it perishes.

  • Is the BVT system safe for bees?

    YES! BVT harnesses the natural pollination process of bees to deliver a naturally occurring organic fungus to prevent some disease in crops. This is something bees could do naturally already. BVT is just making sure what happens occasionally in nature occurs consistently. Our product is safe for bees, the environment, and people. BVT’s biocontrol is found all around the world. BVT does not genetically modify, synthesize or in any way alter this natural-occurring beneficial fungus.

Bee types and sources

  • Where do you get the bees?

    Bumble bees are purchased from various companies who rear them in facilities around the world. There are half a dozen major companies who supply greenhouses and growers with bees. The bee colony in each hive lives for 6-8 weeks, after which the colony cannot reproduce and finishes its natural life cycle. Several different species are used depending on the region. This industry is highly regulated and all bees produced are tested prior to release. Bumble bees do not make honey.

  • Can you use this with honey bees? How will it affect them? Does it do anything to the honey?

    BVT does have a system for honey bees, although we prefer to use bumble bees (explained below). As with bumble bee, BVT does not negatively affect honey bees. BVT also does not affect the honey in the hives. This is because honey has natural antifungal properties, and BVT’s product cannot grow on honey.

  • Why do you use bumble bees?

    BVT chooses to work primarily with bumble bees for many reasons. Bumble bees are friendlier and easier to handle than honey bees. Bumble bees fly in colder temperatures and in wetter conditions than honey bees. Bumble bees are prodigious workers; each bee typically makes 1000 foraging trips a day, and a single hive can pollinate 300,000 plants in a single day. They are already in use for pollination in many flowering crops. Bumblebee colonies are commercially reared and have a natural life span of about 6-8 weeks. Growers require very little training to manage bumblebees. In contrast, management of honey bees requires well – trained or experienced growers, and more equipment. Honey bees also have to be housed during the winter in order for the hive to continue in the subsequent year.

Bees in the delivery of product

  • Do the Bees like carrying the powder (Vectorite™)?

    The most natural powder that bees carry is, of course, pollen. Extensive research shows that bees have no issue carrying the powder (Vectorite). Bumble bees can carry 100% of their bodyweight in pollen and nectar, and they are only carrying a fraction of that with BVT powder. BVT has spent many years perfecting the system, including the tray design, the powder (Vectorite), and how much gets packaged into each tray.

    Vectorite is comprised of organic compounds all of which are certified organic in Canada and the United States.

  • Will any powder get into the hive? What affect does this have on the bees?

    Our specialized dispenser designs assure that bees leaving their hives become dusted with our product, but on returning to their hives do not become re-dusted. Small quantities of the powder may be carried into the hive but the fungus quickly dies in the warm conditions of the hive. But once again, our research on CR7 indicates no negative effects on the bees.

  • Do the bees clean themselves off when they leave the hive? If so how do we get our product to the flower?

    Sometimes they clean themselves if powder gets on their wings however, they will still carry lots of fungus to the plant. The spores of our fungus are microscopic, and a single bumblebee can carry 300,000 spores each time it leaves the hive! Studies show that bumblebees can carry BVT product up to 400 yards.

  • Will the bees ever not fly? If so how can you ensure you are delivering product?

    There are some conditions of temperature, humidity and precipitation in which bumblebees will not fly. Under most circumstances, however, these conditions do not last long and the bees take advantage of improving conditions and quickly out and collect pollen. After all, they need to eat! Our fungus also lasts for a long time in the plant, so if we miss a day or two, no problem, our fungus will still be able to do its job! The time for bee foraging and flower availability tend to be the same.

  • If bees can deliver beneficial fungus, can they also transport disease?

    All bees wild and commercial that are required for pollinated crops have the ability to transport both negative and beneficial pathogens. One of the principle reasons BVT uses a removable, one time use Vectorpaks™ is to ensure that clean and precise quantities are being delivered.

  • How can you control where the bees are flying?

    BVT is carried up to 400 yards, bees, being efficient creatures, will go to the nearest bloom available for pollination purposes. Therefore the placement of the hives adjacent to the crop is an important part of our protocol. Even if the bees delivered our product to an unintended crop it would have no negative affect.

  • Do the bees clean themselves off when they leave the hive? If so how do we get our product to the flower?

    Sometimes they clean themselves if powder gets on their wings however, they will still carry lots of fungus to the plant. The spores of our fungus are microscopic, and a single bumblebee can carry 300,000 spores each time it leaves the hive! Studies show that bumblebees can carry BVT product up to 400 yards.

Effects on the environment

  • Does BVT have any effect on natural/wild pollinators?

    BVT has no effect on naturally occurring pollinators. There is more than enough pollen to go around for natural bees in outdoor crops. Natural, wild pollinators may act as secondary dispersers of our control agent and amplify the efficiency of our technology. Natural pollinators are normally not present in indoor crops.

  • Is there any negative affect of adding this much fungus to the environment?

    The kind of fungus BVT uses is found all over the world, and has existed for millions of years. BVT’s product dies off in the environment if it does not find a host within about 8 hours (i.e. a bloom) after delivery by a bee. BVT’s fungus remains dormant within the powder, so it does not need to be changed every day.

  • Why is the BVT system good for bees?

    Current practice of spraying chemicals results in pesticide landing on non-targeted areas. As an example, apples get sprayed with 1800 gallons of water and 6 kg of antibiotic, with 95% of it ending up on non-targeted areas. Whereas the BVT system uses 20 g of powder to achieve the same level of control with almost no redundancy. By using less pesticides and chemicals BVT can reduce exposure to pollinators from overspray. Less chemicals, better for bees, better for people and the environment.

Company roadmap

  • How is BVT moving forward?

    BVT is currently working on the possibility of an “in” dispenser. This would be a similar concept to vectoring product to the flower, but instead to bring medicine into the hive, i.e. a reverse of vectoring, to help promote bee health and prevent disease that affect hives for example Varroa Mite., which potentially have devastating impact on hives especially honey bee hives.

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