Air Date: Week of September 29, 2000
Bees and pest control.
VILLIGER: Farmers may soon have some new beasts of burden buzzing around the fields: bees. Researchers discovered that bees can deliver fungicide to growing crops more efficiently than traditional mechanical sprayers. They found out by forcing bees to walk through a tiny foot bath of an organic fungicide as they left the hive. Then, while the bees foraged in strawberry blossoms for pollen, they would inadvertently leave behind the anti-mold particles. By the end of the growing season, strawberries targeted by the bees were almost half as likely to be afflicted by gray mold than their mechanically-sprayed neighbors. The bee-treated fruit was substantially bigger, too. And the bees didn't seem to mind being put to work, though honeybees were said to be prone to work stoppages on cool or rainy days. That's this week's environmental update. I'm Maggie Villiger.
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