For 20 years, Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) has been committed to the protection and evolution of sustainable, natural commercial farming solutions. It is the emerging company behind a revolutionary patented bee vectoring technology that uses commercially-reared bees to deliver targeted crop controls through the natural process of pollination.
To better know BVT and its technology, AgroPages recently interviewed Ashish Malik, CEO fo BVT.
Could you please describe to us what kind of company BVT is?
BVT has developed and is now commercializing a tool that changes how growers grow their crops. We use the natural pollination process of commercial bees to deliver biological plant protection products to flowering crops. We also have our own proprietary microbe which has now been registered in the US as a biopesticide.
How to solve the problem of effective use of biocontrol has always been a promotion problem.Could you please introduce how it works of Vectorpak ™ technology? What advantages does it have over traditional sprays?
We have 2 different types of dispensers – one for commercial bumble bee hives, and a second for commercial honeybee hives – through which bees pick up a powder which contains the plant beneficial microbe when they are leaving their hives, and deliver the microbe to the flower of a crop when they visit the flower for foraging. Once on the flower, the microbe colonizes the plant tissue, and protects the plant against different diseases and pests. This is a very targeted and efficient way to deliver a plant protection agent to the flower of a plant, so it is an ideal way to protect against pests and disease that affect the plant through the flower (like botrytis for example). The system uses no water, and minimal amounts of active ingredient vs traditional spraying where a lot of active ingredient gets wasted since it will fall between crop rows, or gets runoff into the water, and does not fall on the flower.
According to the introduction of Vectorpak ™ technology, it is known that it uses commercially-reared bees to carry biocontrol products, and then brings the agent to the crop by pollination, which means that it can only work during the flowering period of the crop? In the early stages of crop growth, can Vectorpak ™ technology solve it?
That is correct, the bee vectoring application technology is ideal to apply plant protection products to manage pests and diseases during the flowering stage of a crop. For later stages, or for non-flowering crops we are developing foliar and seed treatment products containing our plant beneficial microbe for application using more traditional application systems.
Are there any requirements for Vectorpak ™ technology on the agent carried by bees? Can all biological products, including biological pesticides and biostimulants, be carried?
Yes, many different biological products can be used for this application technology. There are a couple of requirements – they have to have a positive effect in and around the flower zone (so this application technology would not be suitable for a soil nematicide for example), it needs to be a dry formulation, and of course has to be safe for the bees themselves. We have evaluated 6 additional microbes beyond our own in the laboratory last year, and will be doing field studies with a couple of them this year.
Compared with traditional spray, will using Vectorpak ™ technology increase farmers' planting costs?
No. The price is similar to the price of a traditional crop protection spray program that a farmer would use to manage pests and diseases during the blooming period. In some cases the growers are using the BVT system alongside the traditional methods and getting higher yields and better quality crops, so they can get a higher revenue per acre.
In 2019, BVT's CR-7 biopesticide obtained EPA registration approval, becoming the company's first patented biopesticide product. Can you tell us about the effects of CR-7 products?
Yes, this was the first registration for BVT, and also the first product registered by the EPA for application via bees. CR-7 is a proprietary strain of Chlonostachys rosea fungal species, and is very good at managing different necrotrophic diseases such as botrytis, sclerotinia and monilinia. Its primary mode of action is “competitive exclusion” since it rapidly colonizes plant tissue thus preventing the pathogen from establishing in the plant.
In which countries and regions does BVT promote Vectorpak ™ technology? Are there plans to promote the technology overseas?
We are currently selling in the US. We have already started market expansion as well – we have started the process to register in Mexico, and already have our regulatory approval under review in Switzerland. We plan to start for broader submission across Europe later this year, and in Canada. We are also getting inquiries from companies in Asia, South America, and even Africa who are interested in partnering with us. The opportunity for BVT is truly a global one.
We know that crop cultivation and climatic conditions are different in different countries, so are the requirements for Vectorpak ™ technology different if it is used in other countries? If BVT promotes this technology overseas, will it also provide technical guidance services?
We will work with partners who have the expertise and knowledge in the local markets in countries outside the US. We will provide technical support to the partners as they develop the system for the different countries.