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    Using Pollinators to Deliver Biological Control Agents Against Crop Pests

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    Both honey bees and bumble bees have been shown to be excellent vectors of biological control agents that suppress pests on various crops. Honey bee and bumble bee hives can be fitted with special dispensers that contain inocula of biological control agents (bacteria, fungi and viruses) that are antagonistic to microbial and fungal plant pathogens and to pest insects. The technology has been used successfully against grey mold on soft and tender fruit (strawberries and raspberries), fire blight on pome fruit (pears and apples), and potentially against sclerotinia on oil seeds (canola). Similarly, viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens of pest insects, such as corn earworm, pollen beetles, banded sunflower moths, and tarnished plant bugs on alfalfa, canola, and sunflower can be delivered to flowers to help protect the crop while improving yields and crop quality through pollination and reduced chemical pesticide load. The development of the technology requires that the biological control agent be effective against the pest, not harm the pollinating vector, and be environmentally acceptable. This new technology is reviewed and its successes noted.


    pollinators, bee vectoring, honey bees, bumble bees, dispensers, Apis mellifera, Bombus, biological control

    Author Information:

    Kevan, PG
    University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

    Al-mazra'awi, MS
    University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

    Sutton, JC
    University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

    Tam, L
    University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

    Boland, G
    University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

    Broadbent, B
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, London, Ontario

    Thomson, SV
    Utah State University, Logan, Utah

    Brewer, GJ
    North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

    Committee/Subcommittee: E35.22

    DOI: 10.1520/STP11120S