Honeybees deliver airmail crop vigor as they scurry out of a hive and collect a health package on hairy legs before delivering a booster shot into each bloom.
A field trial utilizing honeybees combined with a newly developed dispenser technology to deliver a beneficial microbe has shown efficacy in controlling two devastating blueberry diseases, in addition to supplementing yield, according to Bee Vectoring Technologies (BVT).
Conducted in Nova Scotia, Canada, the field test used BVT’s dispenser system to combat Botrytis blight (gray mold) and Monilinia blight (mummy berry) in blueberries. "Our yields went up quite substantially when we used the BVT system, whether alone or in combination with chemical fungicides, but they didn't go up where we used the fungicide alone," says Dr. David Percival blueberry research program director and professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. "The results indicate the potential for floral blight disease control and increased berry yields with the use of BVT technology. Future work will allow us to fine tune the use recommendations."
"Notably, this was the first time we tested our honeybee delivery system in a replicated R&D study, and we got great results,” adds Ashish Malik, CEO of BVT. “Having a proven system that works with honey bees alongside our first system designed to work with commercial bumble bee hives allows us to reach a far wider market and gives us options to deliver solutions for growers based on the specific needs for their crops."
Almost 300,000 acres of blueberries cultivated in the U.S. and Canada with a total farm gate value of $1.1 billion. North American acreage is responsible for 54% of global blueberry production.
For more information, see beevt.com.