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Biotech

Bumblebees Used For Targeted Pesticide Deliveries (gizmag.com) 23

Zothecula writes: Chemical pesticides are generally a bad thing for the environment and pollinators like bees that our agriculture relies on. Now a company out of Vancouver, Canada, called Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) has brought the two together in a system that uses bees to deliver tiny amounts of natural pesticides and beneficial fungi while pollinating crops.
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Bumblebees Used For Targeted Pesticide Deliveries

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  • Prediction... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Sunday November 01, 2015 @03:39PM (#50843329)

    I predict unintended consequences...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Rogue bumblebee assassins available to the highest bidder?

    • Does everyone fail to see the hilarious irony here? TFS stated that they deliver "natural pesticides". Not only that, but the pesticides are delivered by "natural drones." You just can't get any more environmentally friendly than that.

      Although who knows what the US military is planning for natural drones . . . bumblebees are definitely way cheaper than Predator drones . . .

      • "Natural pesticides" is a pretty nebulous term. Such "natural" substances may or may not be good for non-target plants the bees come in contact with.

        • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

          It is, but based on the summary it seems pretty clear they are talking about using the bees to spread fungi, microorganisms or even smaller bugs.

          These "natural pesticides" are not really pesticides at all but natural parasites of pests. Various forms of them are already available and in wide use. For example, you can go buy ladybugs, along with several speices of predatory bug to deal with various kinds of pests. There are fungi that you can put in your soil to kill beetle larvae, there are predatory mites

  • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @03:45PM (#50843357)

    The bumblebees are likely to revolt and demand a minimum wage for making all those deliveries.

    Fight for your bitcoins! [coinbrawl.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The bumblebees will get super/uber pissed off and demand that they are actually employees and not independent contractors.

  • ...for Belated Human Assistance

    Marvels At How Badly She Screwed Everything Up Thus Far
  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @04:46PM (#50843615) Homepage

    Limited uses due to the limited payload and the fact that they'll largely just touch the flowers, but where that's "good enough" it's an interesting possibility. Rather than dousing whole fields in pesticides and fungal innocculants you only touch the flowers - but you get almost every last flower. That's pretty darned targeted.

    Obviously they're going to be using pesticides and fungal species compatible with the bees. Otherwise the plan wouldn't work at all. They probably use a reverse of the technique used to treat honeybees for parasites - a material that they have to brush against when they enter/leave the hive.

  • can we really trust bumblebees not to screw it up? try some africanized bees, they get sh!t done.

  • I don't see how they'll be able to prevent hive contamination with this method.
    The worker bees are as likely to track the pesticides back into the comb when they return from foraging as when they go out to the plants.
    Over time any contaminants introduced into a hive will build up in the comb wax, provided that it's a hive structure in which comb is reused. (Refer to Langstroth hives with frames mounted in supers, which are the most common types in the industry).
    Even if it's initially harmless at the dosed v

    • Oh bah, never mind. I shouldn't post when I'm tired.
      It's bumblebees not honeybees. Their hives are tiny, and nobody's collecting honey from them.
      Duh :)

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