EPA approves fungicide delivered by bees
September 16, 2019
By Top Crop Manager
The announcement marks the first ever Environmental Protection Agency approval for application of a plant protection product by bees.
A Canadian company received approval for its biocontrol product which is applied to crops through bees. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the fungus Clonostachys rosea CR-7 (CR-7) for use as a fungicide on commercial crops.
CR-7 is the first registered active ingredient for the Canadian-based company Bee Vectoring Technologies (BVT) and the first active ingredient approved by the EPA for application via bees, known as “bee vectoring.”
The Canadian company, based in Ontario, has been testing and conducting field trials since 2006 to “harness the power of nature’s best workers” to improve crop quality and reduce the use of chemicals. Bee vectoring essentially uses commercially-reared bees to deliver crop protection through the natural process of pollination. One advantage of bee vectoring is being able to deliver the biocontrol right at the bloom stage, instead trying to spray so every plant receives the fungicide at the right time.
Sold under the brand name Vectorite with CR-7, the product is labeled for numerous crops, including sunflowers, strawberries, blueberries, and almonds.
BVT will officially launch and start to use the product starting with this year’s fall and winter blueberry and strawberry season in the United States. The company is also the midst of testing their technology on sunflower crops in North Dakota and canola in Ontario.
“It represents a groundbreaking shift in how plant care products can be applied,” said Ashish Malik, CEO of BVT. “By using commercially reared bees to deliver biological products, growers can protect crops, increase crop yields and enhance their sustainable growing practices by reducing the use of chemicals and other costly and increasingly scarce resources including water, fuel and labor.”
BVT is pursuing regulatory approval from other key countries and, because the EPA serves as an affirmative model for regulatory agencies outside the United States, these review processes should move faster and more easily.