The entire food chain has a crisis: bees are being killed off by pesticides, aluminum, unnatural frequencies and other factors. While there are more insects that pollinate our plants and help the entire food chain thrive, bees are of course extremely significant pollinators.

While some people want to build bee sanctuaries, avoid things that damage bees, and fix the problem of dying pollinators from the root, others want to replace the bees with robots.

bees rpbpts

Image: Harvard University Bee Robot Example

On the natural side, Iowa town Cedar Rapids will now house a 1,000 acre sanctuary to help bees and other pollinators thrive. Starting off by planting 188 acres of grasses and wildflowers, they say it will be expanded to 1,000 acres.

According to Popular Science:

“This spring, Cedar Rapids (population: 130,000) will seed 188 acres with native prairie grasses and wildflowers. The city’s plan is to eventually create 1,000 acres of bee paradise by planting these pollinator-friendly foodstuffs.

The 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative grew out of a partnership with the Monarch Research Project(MRP), whose goal is to restore monarch butterfly populations. It was Cedar Rapids Park Superintendent Daniel Gibbins who proposed converting 1,000 acres into pollinator habitat over five years. So far, the project has secured $180,000 in funding from the state and the MRP.”

On the synthetic side, researchers have been trying to develop robotic bees for a while now. Recently, but not the first time this has been tried, Japanese researchers took it a step further.

According to the Independent:

“Writing in a paper in the journal Chem, the team demonstrated their drone on an open bamboo lily (Lilium japonicum) flower. With a bit of practice, the device could pick up 41 per cent of the pollen available within three landings and successfully pollinated the flower in 53 out of 100 attempts.

It used a patch of hairs augmented with a non-toxic ionic liquid gel that used static electricity and stickiness to be able to “lift and stick” the pollen. Although the drone was manually operated in this study, the team stated that by adding artificial intelligence and GPS, it could learn to forage for and pollinate plants on its own.”

There is a pattern here: a pattern of natural vs synthetic, going with or against the grain.

Knowing how other agricultural practices, advents of biotechnology and science have turned out, where do you think robotic bees will go?

Image credits: worldnow, the gazetteBusiness Insider