Biobest off to flying start

Biobest is off to a flying start for 2013, with a brilliant new system for delivering biological plant protection, replacing costly spraying. Biobest, a pioneer of biological control using bumblebees, has launched an innovative ‘Flying Doctors’ concept to control major diseases.  

Bumblebees, already used in the pollination of crops such as strawberries, can be used to bring microbial ‘medicine’ to plants to control grey mould and other major diseases, which cause huge yield losses annually. Grey mould is spread through airborne particles, and infects strawberries and raspberries during the flowering period, yet only becomes visible when the fruit ripens or during storage – when it is too late to be controlled.

The new ‘Flying Doctors’ system is ingenious: it consists of a patented dispenser system that is available as a fully integrated option to the new standard bumblebee hive. As the bumblebees leave their hive, they walk through a tray of specially formulated microbial fungicide or microbial insecticide preparation, which clings to their legs and body. They then deliver this product directly to each flower they visit. The bumblebees’ hairy bodies and unique buzz pollination make them especially effective as delivery vehicles. It’s just what the doctor ordered: regular applications when and where you need it.

And it’s versatile. The dispenser can also be used to enhance pollination by placing commercially available pollen in the tray, instead of the microbial fungicide/insecticide. This application can be used in a number of fruit crops, including apples, almonds, kiwi, and cherries. This replaces labour-intensive spraying or dusting of the pollen, allowing growers to save up to 90% on pricey pollen bills.

The Flying Doctors system represents pollination combined with crop protection, and Biobest’s busy bees ensure that not a single flower is missed. This simple yet effective method saves labour, requires less volume of product and also helps reduce the risk of pesticide resistance and residue problems, making it a truly sustainable agricultural solution. Growers get more out of their bumblebees, and more out of their crops – a winning combination.

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