Flying Doctors also first aid for pollination

Biobest’s brilliant new system for delivering plant protection without costly chemical spraying is already proving successful, generating worldwide interest and attracting swarms since the launch at Fruit Logistica in Berlin.

The patented Flying Doctors® concept uses bumblebees to deliver prescription biocontrol directly to flowers, as an ingenious way to fight major crop diseases, such as grey mould in Belgian strawberry and raspberry crops. As they leave the hive, our bumblebees walk through the Verdera B4, a specially-formulated microbial fungicide that has proven as effective as a full-range chemical programme to control grey mould. The preparation clings to their legs and body, so they deliver this “medicine” directly to each flower they visit.

But now the concept’s versatility is in the spotlight. The patented dispenser system can also be used to enhance pollination. By placing commercially available pollen in the tray, instead of the microbial fungicide/insecticide, growers can significantly improve the efficacy of pollination in crops where commercially available pollen is applied by labour-intensive spraying or dusting. Based on existing practices of pollination boosting systems with honey bees, high potentials are foreseen in many fruit crops worldwide, such as apples, almonds, kiwi and cherries. It’s simple, sustainable and labor-saving.

Kiwiberry is the first crop where the pollination boosting system with bumblebees has been tested. This has giving very promising results. This year more trials will follow, also in other crops. Besides that, Biobest encourages growers to test it in their crops too.

Biobest has already applied the Flying Doctors® concept successfully in Belgian greenhouse trials. Now we’re taking the system to the open field. Early results look promising and the buzz just keeps getting better. With Biobest’s Flying Doctors®, innovation is in the air.

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