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FDA approves a non-toxic pesticide alternative that’s spread by BEES

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A natural pesticide! FDA approves a non-toxic alternative that’s spread by BEES and could help prevent catastrophic insect extinction

  • The new alternative to pesticide is based on a natural fungus that’s safe for bees 
  • Bees walk over trays containing the compound in their beehives
  • When bees pollinate plants, they spread the compound to everything they touch

A Canadian company has secured approval from the Environmental Protection Agency for a new and less toxic form of pesticide that’s spread by bees.

The compound, CR7 is derived from the fungal strain Clonostachys rosea, a naturally occurring mycoparasite that’s thought to have fewer side effects than chemical pesticides.

A proprietary version of the compound was developed by the Canadian company Bee Vectoring Technologies.

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a new organic alternative to pesticides that's carried by bees

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a new organic alternative to pesticides that’s carried by bees

CR7 attacks other fungal strains, including those known to cause potato blight, black rot on citrus, and a number of other types of fungi that afflict strawberries, blueberries and almonds.

According to Modern Farmer, the system devised by BVT involves placing small trays of CR7 inside bumblebee hives.

The bees eventually walk over the trays while in the hive, and the CR7 attaches to their bodies.

When they go out to pollinate other plants, they leave traces of the fungal compound everywhere they go.

Researchers insert trays with the fungal compound CR7 into beehives (pictured above), where bees will be exposed to it

Researchers insert trays with the fungal compound CR7 into beehives (pictured above), where bees will be exposed to it 

The process is incredibly efficient, requiring just 1.3 percent of the volume of pesticide typically used to treat plants, according to ArsTechnica.

CR7 is placed on trays inside beehives (pictured above), where it attaches to bees bodies

CR7 is placed on trays inside beehives (pictured above), where it attaches to bees bodies

Perhaps more importantly, the product could protect bee populations, which have been in rapid decline in recent years.

One report said honey bee colonies in the US decline by 41 percent last year, and total honey bee populations fell by 89 percent between 2006 and 2017.

When bees leave the hive to pollinate new plants, they carry small amounts of CR7 on their bodies and spread it across everything the touch

When bees leave the hive to pollinate new plants, they carry small amounts of CR7 on their bodies and spread it across everything the touch

This poses a major problem for farmers who grow crops that depend on being pollinated by bees, including carrots, tomatoes, cherries, broccoli, and onions.

A study from the EPA suggested the declines could be linked to certain chemical pesticides that are especially toxic to bees.

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The popularity of these chemicals, called neonicotinoid pesticides, or neoinics, have made agricultural lands 48 times more toxic to insect life over the last 25 years.

One study suggested that neoinics and other pesticides had put 40 percent of all species of insects in the world at risk of extinction.

WHAT IS THE HONEYBEE CRISIS?

Honeybees, both domestic and wild, are responsible for around 80 per cent of worldwide pollination, according to Greenpeace.

But bee colony collapses across the globe are threatening their vital work.

Bees are dying from a combination of pesticides, habitat destruction, drought, nutrition deficit, global warming and air pollution among other factors.

The global bee crisis can potentially be solved if dangerous pesticides are eliminated, wild habitats are preserved and ecological agriculture is restored, according to Greenpeace (file photo)

The global bee crisis can potentially be solved if dangerous pesticides are eliminated, wild habitats are preserved and ecological agriculture is restored, according to Greenpeace (file photo)

Greenpeace has reported: ‘The bottom line is that we know humans are largely responsible for the two most prominent causes: Pesticides and habitat loss.’

This is important for a number of reasons, chief among them the amount of work bees put into our food production.

Vegetables, nuts and fruits are pollinated by bees. Of the top human food crops, a whopping 70 of 100 are pollinated by the creatures, which account for as much as 90 per cent of global nutrition.

Greenpeace has suggested the following solutions to the problem:

  • The preservation of wild habitats in order to protect pollinator health
  • The restoration of ecological agriculture
  • The elimination of the world’s most dangerous pesticides 

 

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