In response to an article I wrote about a New Hampshire pollinator conference on Monday, I was notified by a reader about an interesting Canadian company that has developed a system which it claims will let wild bees deliver precise amounts of pesticide or other materials as they do their flower-to-flower rounds. They call it bee vectoring,” using “vector” in the biomedical sense of “a living thing that carries disease or medication to another living thing,” as in mosquitoes carrying malaria parasites.
The company (BVT, as in Bee Vectoring Technology), describes it thusly: “A proprietary tray dispenser containing a unique carrier agent that is designed to utilize commercially reared bumblebees as natural delivery mechanisms, without water, for a variety of powdered mixtures comprised of organic compounds that inhibit or eliminate common crop diseases. … The BVT system consists of a dispenser tray that is incorporated into the lid of commercial bumblebee hives. The dispenser is a removable tray that contains non-toxic organic or synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in powdered form, including BVT’s proprietary organic inoculant fungi, BVT-CR7, within a unique compound known as “Vectorite” that allows the bumblebees to effectively pick up the product on their way out of the hive.”
An interesting twist on the whole issue of maintaining natural pollinators. I didn’t ever realize that commercial bumblebee hives exist.