Source: LA Times
Scientists in Japan developed a bee equivalent: a remote-controlled drone, covered in sticky, matted horse hair that can pollinate plants.
First of its kind, the pollinating machines could serve as a model for automated pollination techniques to help make up for dying colonies of bees, due to climate change and chemical poison.
Bees are essential pollinators that make reproduction of plants possible, but with their numbers decreasing rapidly, agricultural production and ecosystems will suffer. At least 90 percent of flowering plants and approximately one-third of human food crops rely on pollinators to survive and reproduce.
Previous efforts to find replacement pollinators have failed because the task of pollinating requires a certain degree of independence (not being attached to wires) and time to jump from flower to flower.
Lead creator of the bee-drone, scientist Eijiro Miyako, said the drone will not likely work to replace the bee, but will help the tiny pollinators with their important work.
Read full story at: LA Times