The Arthur Dobbs Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to research, education and implementation of agroecological strategies. Its recent focus has been control of pests and diseases by using managed pollinators to deploy beneficial biocontrol agents.
Peter Kevan, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Director
Vernon G. Thomas, PhD, Chair
On his Irish estate Arthur Dobbs (1689-1765) observed that flowers are pollinated by insects. To record, this appears to be the very first written observation of cross-pollination. He presented his revolutionary discovery to the Royal Society of London in 1750.
Arthur Dobbs Institute honours the continued research of bees and their importance in pollination.
The Protectabee provides a novel, non-invasive method for delivering bee beneficial materials into honey bee hives using apivectoring. We are currently in the research and development phase working with our partner, Best for Bees, to improve honey bee health.
Agroecosystems and Managed Pollinators
Ecological intensification (EI) is an important concept in rehabilitating degraded ecosystems. It is management using ecological principles applied to reconstituting biodiversity and facets of ecosystem functionality. EI is being applied to agroecosystems around the world. For sustainable food and fibre production, pollination has been targeted for EI by international and national initiatives. Most have stressed reconstitution of pollinator habitats for reestablishing functionality of pollination as a crucial ecosystem service. The IUBS Programme, initiated in 2013 EI 3 took the ideas into a specific agroecosystem, coffee production and expanded that into crop protection and production through using managed pollinators to disseminate biological control agents for control of insect and fungal pests on coffee. Field studies in Brazil and Mexico were hampered by factors beyond the control of the investigators (e.g. funding delays and recently drought), but were coupled with successful IUBS programme sponsored webinars and publications as well as major private sector developments. Thus, the programme of the first triennium has added to modest advances for coffee, but major advances in the technology for use on small and tender fruit, greenhouse crops, oilseed crops, orchard health and managed pollinator health.
First International Advanced Course on Using Managed
Pollinators for Dissemination of Biological Control Agents for
Suppression of Insect, Fungal & Other Pests of Crops
Apivectoring/entomovectoring technology, which uses managed bees to disseminate biological control agents to flowering crops, can boost crop yields by providing non-chemical protection from pests and disease while enhancing pollination. The advanced course covered the basic principles of pollinator/flower relations, crop pests, the technological development of
apivectoring from experimental tests to commercial application, advantages and disadvantages of biological control agents, dosing the vector and crop,
dispersal of biocontrol agents through pollinator foraging ranges, monitoring methodology, analysis of the cost-benefits associated with apivectoring,
registration of biological control agents considering vector safety, environmental issues, human exposure safety, and formulation and labelling.
International examples of apivectoring research trials were presented by participants from Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Belgium, Serbia, Kenya
and Senegal. Researchers, industry partners, and students shared their respective experiences and showcased their success controlling crop pests on strawberries, raspberries, orchard crops, sunflower and canola oilseed crops, coffee and other crops around the world.