Bumblebees–not pesticides–save berries from mold

Claudine Zap
Claudine Zap
The Upbeat

The United Kingdom has a solution to its moldy strawberry problem: bzzzzzzzzzzz.

Bumblebees have been deployed in strawberry fields to stop the gray gunk from growing.

The trick: According to the Guardian, the bees pass through trays in their hive, which is filled with harmless fungus spores.

The bees then visit the flowers and deliver the fungus spores that will stop the mold from taking hold.

The fungus spores on the backs and legs of bees are harmless to plants and people but are strong enough to kill the mold.

Bees seem to be more effective that the chemical alternative. Pesticides protect only at the moment the plants are sprayed. But bees know better, visiting the flower at the “perfect moment,” Harriet Roberts of Adas, an agricultural consultant running the test, told the Guardian.

This is no small problem. The Guardian reports that of 50,000 tons of strawberries sold in the U.K., half are ruined by mold.

If bees can solve the problem of moldy strawberries, it would make way for other berries to get the bee treatment as well: Cherries and raspberries could also benefit.

And breakfast cereal would be safe from bad berries. Everyone wins.