Japanese scientists demonstrate ‘drone bee’ prototype

Japanese scientists demonstrate ‘drone bee’ prototype

Japanese scientists demonstrate ‘drone bee’ prototype

A group of Japanese researchers have successfully demonstrated that a small ‘drone bee’ can be used to artificially pollinate flowers.

The team from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) demonstrated that with a few modifications a small commercial drone could be used as an effective pollinator.

The AIST team took a Chinese-made G-Force PXY CAM drone and affixed an array of animal hairs to its underside.

Crucially the team then covered these hairs in an ‘ionic liquid gel’ which would be sticky enough for pollen grains to affix themselves to the hairs.

The drone was then tested flying between flowers of the L. japonicum plant, wherein it managed to successfully pollinate the flowers 41% of the time.

The researchers themselves believe that a similar, but somewhat more advanced implementation of their findings could be used to combat declining bee numbers.

In many parts of the world bee populations are in serious decline due to a phenomenon known as ‘Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)’. This disorder while not fully understood, is thought to be linked to the use of certain pesticides by farmers.

“…it should lead to the development of robotic pollinators and help counter the problems caused by the declining honeybee populations,” the researchers wrote in a paper submitted to the scientific journal ‘Chem’.

“We believe that robotic pollinators will be able to move smartly and learn the optimal pollination path by using GPS and artificial intelligence.”

If a huge number of these artificial drone bees could be created it would indeed serve as a solution to the looming agricultural problems caused by CCD.

However, to actually produce enough of these drones that they could effectively replace the millions if not billions of bees on Earth, would be a gargantuan task.

Humanity would be much better off to try and determine once and for all why bee populations are in decline and take actions to rectify this – bees themselves are a far better and more efficient pollinator than these drones could ever hope to be.

Moreover, as dystopian TV shows like Black Mirror correctly point out, whoever has control over such a large number of drones, would have a disturbingly large amount of power.

South Africa/Sri Lanka match delayed due to bizarre reason

South Africa/Sri Lanka match delayed due to bizarre reason

A buzz like no other in Johannesburg today as a swarm of bees invaded the One Day International match between South Africa and Sri Lanka.

An unusual invasion took place at the Wanderers Stadium as the stinging swarm of insects dropped players to the floor.

The bees invaded the pitch in the middle of the 26th over, leaving the crowd with more than they bargained for.
Play was temporarily abandoned, however, another battle began.

It was the groundsmen versus the the sea of black and yellow that became the spectacle.
It appears fast bowler Chris Morris is quick thinking too, as he suggested the use of a fire extinguisher to terminate the presence of the bees and continue play.

A temporary strategy from the cricketer with some success being seen, but the bees were not going down without a fight.

The groundsmen were defeated. It was plan ‘bee’ that needed to be taken to bring an end to the madness.

A professional beekeeper was summoned, gaining his claim to fame as he walked out to a packed Wanderers stadium to battle the swarm.
What did the trick? Honeycomb.

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Before long, the bees took the bait and how sweet a victory it was for the man of the hour as play was soon resumed.

It was over 65 minutes that the bees established their presence on the pitch, crashing the party and causing havoc in the international test.

An unusual day for cricket with the attention being diverted from the game and to a comical display of a battle against a sea of insects.