Original Article Source: SpringWise
Bees Deliver Organic Fungicide To Crops While Pollinating Flowers
Article Written By: Keely Khoury
The new process improves crop yield and protects the environment by reducing chemical pollution
Spotted: Sustainable farming technology company Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) has created a natural fungicide powder that eliminates mould on growing fruits. Best of all, the preventative measure is delivered by bees doing what they do best – pollinating flowers. Farmers who are testing the material like the specificity of the delivery of the fungicide. Bees take it directly to the flower, rather than spreading it all over the plants and soil as a traditional spraying system does. This bee-based system has been dubbed ‘natural precision agriculture’.
The fungicide is dispensed through the openings of the hives. As bees leave the hive, they move through the powder, picking up a thick coating on their legs and wings. When they land on a flower to collect pollen, the powder naturally falls off.
With bee populations all over the world declining in number, lessening environmental pollution is a necessity for their survival. As the bees deliver the fungicide, they are reducing a farmer’s need for chemicals. Farmers can rent or buy hives of bees for a season or full-time, and beekeepers monitor hive health and the needed volumes of fungicide for each crop. The fungicide is available as a single ingredient or a stackable mix of powders, depending on what crop is being protected.
“Spraying products onto crops is inherently inefficient. Only a small amount of what is sprayed on an acre of farm lands on the crop flower”, explains Ashish Malik, CEO of BVT. “On the other hand, bees only visit flowers, and so all of what they are carrying can be used to inoculate the crop with a beneficial microbe to help it fight diseases and pests”.
A number of innovations are focusing on ways to help improve the resilience of hives, with Springwise spotting several new designs. These include a hive that mimics the shape of a tree, and another made from mycelium that helps repel deadly mites.
BVT technology is an example of using the natural world to solve human-made crises. As innovations increasingly insert themselves seamlessly into organic shapes and biologic processes, new avenues open for living in harmony with the surrounding environment. As climate change mitigation speeds up, global best practices can be shared and used to inspire positive change around the world, with ideas adapted as needed to suit local conditions.