GOOD news for blueberry producers as Canadian company Bee Vectoring Technologies (BVT) reports successful trial pest control results with its new honey bee dispenser system.
It says the yield was 77-per-cent higher than a non-treated control field of blueberries in the trial near Parrsborough, Nova Scotia.
It was conducted using low-bush blueberries with Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University wild blueberry research programme.
BVT’s system consists of a bee hive with dispenser technology through which its plant beneficial microbe BVT-CR7 is delivered to crops using honey bees.
The trial was designed to determine the effectiveness of the technology in controlling Botrytis blight (gray mold) and Monilinia blight (mummy berry), two common diseases affecting blueberries.
The result was compared to untreated control and current chemicals used by growers.
“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 Prof. David Percival, Dalhouse University research programme director.
He admits he was surprised by the results.
“I went back and double-checked the raw yield data, then the spreadsheet to make sure the statistical program was correct,” he says in a statement.
“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.”
BVT chief executive Ashish Malik says it’s the first time the company has tested its honey bee delivery system in a replicated R&D study.
“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.”
Blueberries are a high-value crop, fetching up to US$44,489 (£33,038) a ha in some regions. There are more than 121,400 ha of blueberries in the US and Canada with total farmgate value of US$1.1 billion (£816.9 million).