Dropcopter’s drones boost crop pollination by up to 60% in bad bee years

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The Dropcopter drone is designed to pollen-bomb rows of crops following a pre-programmed route

A large percentage of the world’s food production relies on bee pollination, but what do we do when the bees can’t be relied on? US startup Dropcopter has just demonstrated that it can deliver a 25 to 60 percent boost in pollination rates using autonomous drones to pick up where the bees left off.

Much has been made of the collapse of bee populations worldwide, what the causes might be and what we might be able to do about it. It’s no small issue, given how much of the global food supply hangs in the balance.

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‘Suddenly it was total mayhem’: Australian inventors celebrate success of revolutionary bee hive

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Stuart Anderson and his son Cedar have invented a new bee hive which collects honey via taps and without having to disturb the bees.

Three years ago, a father and son in Australia finally unveiled a device they had spent a decade inventing: a beehive that releases honey via a tap, without needing to handle the bees.

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RoboBees will pollinate crops instead of real bees

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As soon as 10 years from now these RoboBees could artificially pollinate a field of crops.

Honeybees pollinate nearly one-third of the food we eat but they have been dying at unprecedented rates because of a mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). The situation is so dire that in late June the White House gave a new task force just 180 days to devise a coping strategy to protect bees and other pollinators. The crisis is generally attributed to a mixture of disease, parasites, and pesticides.

 

 

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Bees ‘Self-Medicate’ when infected with some pathogens

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When faced with pathogenic fungi, bees line their hives with more propolis – the waxy, yellow substance seen here.

Research from North Carolina State University shows that honey bees “self-medicate” when their colony is infected with a harmful fungus, bringing in increased amounts of antifungal plant resins to ward off the pathogen…

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Explosives and Pesticides Can be Detected by Using Bee Venom

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MIT scientists discover that bee venom can detect explosives and some pesticides.

Scientists from MIT have discovered that by coating carbon nanotubes in bee venom, they can create ultra-sensitive detectors for explosives such as TNT, as well as at least two different types of pesticides. This means that bees and their stingers could become important to making better environmental sensors.

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Mystery of the Honeybees Solved

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Members of a joint United States Army-University of Montana research team that located a virus that is possibly collapsing honeybee colonies.

It has been one of the great murder mysteries of the garden: what is killing off the honeybees?

Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.

 

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City Bees Are Healthier and More Productive Than Their Country Cousins

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An urban beekeeper.

While their country cousins’ populations collapse, bees in Paris are thriving as having a rooftop hive becomes de rigueur for hotels and restaurants seeking an in-house source of home-grown artisanal honey. According to the BBC, the urban bees are healthier and more productive than ones in rural France and they seem to like the City of Light for the same reason many people do: lots of good food.

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Bees Prefer Nectar with Caffeine and Nicotine

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Bees are attracted to nectar which are laced with caffeine and nicotine

Many people feel they need a cigarette and a cup of coffee to start the day and now it turns out bees are no different.  The honey-making insects prefer nectar with small amounts of nicotine and caffeine over plain nectar, researchers revealed.

 

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Amazing Photos of Bees in a Bell Jar

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Honey bees have fascinated people for centuries, and people have built many types of hives to observe them.  Forcing bees to build combs inside glass jars is a common theme for observation hives. A bell jar was placed on top of a mini hive and bees from the nucleus started to create foundation of a hive in the jar. Once the foundation is laid, the bees work in masses to form the rest of the hive. (Pics)

 

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