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Can drones replace bees and pollinate flowers?

Can drones replace bees and pollinate flowers

Can drones replace bees and pollinate flowers?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is a bit more complicated though. Flying drones have been used for many years, for many purposes. From investigating secluded and hard to reach areas, to flying cookies. They had many ground-breaking uses, and even children can play with them. Right now, they are even tackling one of the biggest problems of modern day: the possible extinction of bees.

Bees are responsible for pollinating flowers. Research shows, that this process is crucial in the process of production. Bees, just like many other insects, birds, butterflies and bats are threatening to disappear. So, could there be an artificial solution to humanity’s problem?

Japan might have the answer. Researchers managed to successfully collect pollen from a lily, using a small drone. The idea was a unique one, just like any invention. They took a $100 drone that anyone could have purchased from their local supermarket. Okay, maybe not, but still, we shouldn’t think about anything big. It’s rather what they did next was what did the trick. The researchers attached horse hair from a brush to the bottom of the drone, then made it ‘sticky’ with gel.

Not just any kind of gel. As Miyako explained: “Conventional gels are mainly made of water, so they evaporate quickly, which makes them useless for this application. Our sticky gel does not evaporate even if put in a vacuum or a hot oven.”

So, the drone looked like a bee (at least its bottom part), acted like a bee and even buzzed like a bee and voila, it worked, the lily was pollinated. Although other researchers say that we are still a long way from replacing actual bees.

Christina Grozinger, director of the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State University said: “Pollinators have evolved specialized behaviors to work with different kinds of flowers. The proposed artificial pollinator does not have any of these specialized behaviors, and thus really can only ‘pollinate’ flowers that are extremely easy to pollinate.”
So, what is the future of bees (and drones)? Let’s ask the cards.

Psychic Timea’s Verdict:

The Tower:
This card represents the events that lead to such an experiment in the first place. Our world has been shaken up and there is no time to waste. Bees might not be extinct yet, but tragedy happened and their numbers are limited. We need to move on and find a solution now. Artificial bees might just be the thing.

Two of Pentacles: There needs to be a balance. As well as looking for a suitable replacement, we need to find a way to save the natural ‘thing’, too. Should a replacement be our first priority, while the species can still be saved?

Ace of Swords:
This is again a double-edged situation. In the right hands, this invention could turn into a great thing. However, that power needs to be used wisely and carefully.



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