‘Green’ technologies to battle sting in the tail for safe food sources

28th April 2010

Honey bees pollinate nearly $200bn worth of crops worldwide and increase production in 87 out of 115 of the leading food groups.

However, 80 per cent of EU crops currently depend, at least in part, on insect pollinators which are under threat. The continued decline in the bee population is set to have a major impact on the safe provision of the world’s food requirements unless new solutions are made available.

Albert Einstein predicted the severity of issue when he said: ‘“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination … no more men!”

Honey bees now pollinate nearly $200bn worth of crops worldwide and increase production in 87 out of 115 of the leading food groups. There is understandable concern for the future of these crops should the world’s bee colonies continue to die.

According to the Food and Environment Research Agency (fera) there has been a steady increase in colony losses in the UK alone since 2001 and winter 2008/09 saw one in every five colonies lost. The EU has seen its colony death rate triple from the standard 10 per cent in recent years.

The causes for Colony Collapse Disorder have yet to be pinpointed but infestation by the Varroa mite, which carries eight different viruses which affect bees, is suspected to be a contributory factor.

Technology developed by leading Intelligent Pest Control solutions provider, Exosect, can now provide a sustainable, food-chain friendly solution to tackling the Varroa mite.

On the back of five years of research, Exosect has developed the product Exomite Pro which uses the company’s unique Entostatpowder to act as a delivery system for a wide range of pest control solutions, including Thymol which is effective in controlling the Varroa mite.

The Entostat powder, which is derived from a natural ‘food grade’ wax from palm trees, has electrostatic properties which develop an electrostatic charge, even through very slight movement. When placed in contact with bees, the powder adheres to them and can be passed from one bee to another through direct contact. The technology means that only minute quantities of Thymol are required, which reduces the potential for Thymol residues in honey crops.

Martin Brown, Managing Director, Exosect explained how the technology can protect bees from the Varroa mite. He said: “Entostat powder is impregnated with small quantities of Thymol and sprinkled on top of the brood frames. Some drops down through the frames on to bees, the remaining powder is removed by the colony. The powder is taken up by the bees in this process. 

“The presence of the powder on the bee increases grooming activity, which combines with the Thymol to cause the Varroa mites to drop off the bees and die. Exomite Pro has proven to provide the fastest knockdown for Varroa when compared to other Thymol-based products.

“This solution is the result of investment by individuals and organisations with a vision of green technology and a desire to make a positive environmental and ecological difference. However, as a small company we are not currently in a position to make this particular product readily accessible.

“We are actively seeking ways in which this might be resolved and the product made available on a world-wide basis.”

To find out more information about Exosect or Exomite Pro, please visit http://www. exosect.com.

 

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For further information please contact: Louise Perfect or Caroline Searle at Grayling, on behalf of Exosect. Tel: 02380 382970 or email: louise.perfect@ grayling.com

 

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