A biotech company is improving crop yields by giving supplements to bees
Pollinators, of which most are bees, support 87 of the world’s top food crops. But the combination of climate change and intensive farming practices has decimated bee populations worldwide. And finding ways to keep bee populations healthy, while also reducing the harm agriculture causes to the environment, is a complex task.
Beeflow, a US-based biotech company, has created an organic feed that boosts bee immune systems while encouraging them to pollinate a more diverse set of crops.
The feed conditions bees to focus on crops they would not normally pollinate, while making certain flowers less desirable. This helps each hive concentrate on a specific field and crop, and the Beeflow team then works with each grower to best position the hives for focused pollination.
In addition, the novel feed helps the bees work in unfavourable weather conditions, such as cooler temperatures, increasing their work rate by up to seven per cent.
Beeflow’s technology has been shown to increase the yields of different crops by 20-90 per cent, which helps make the case for reducing pesticide use and other chemical and intensive farming techniques. The reduced volumes of pesticide also support bee health, thereby contributing to a cycle of sustainability.
Other recent bee-related innovations spotted by Springwise include hi-tech beehives, bio-mimicking tech for pollination, and a system using bees to measure environmental pollution.
Written By: Amanda Simms