Giving thanks to our robotic bee saviors

As we were recently talking about honeybees, the epidemic known as colony collapse, and the need for more local beekeepers, I thought that you might be interested in this recent Indian study showing that cell phones could play a part in hive collapse. Here’s a clip from an article on the study:

…when a mobile phone was kept near a beehive it resulted in collapse of the colony in five to ten days, with the worker bees failing to return home, leaving the hives with just queens, eggs and hive-bound immature bees…

I haven’t read the study, and the article, from an Indian news agency, isn’t terribly informative, but, still, I think it’s worth considering along with all the other possible reasons being suggested for Colony Collapse Disorder. Regardless of the cause, though, there’s hope on the horizon.

And it doesn’t involve the possibility of getting stung.

I just happened across the following comment left by a reader of Boing Boing, in the wake of an article on tiny, swarming robots:

I was actually just talking with someone who was working with a research team at Harvard looking to make some kind of prototype robotic “bee.”

My first assumption was that he meant a little, flying robot that would be used for spying or something like that.

It turned out that it was more literal than that: they want swarms of little, flying robots that could actually pollinate flowers if real bees ever become endangered or extinct…

Now, if there was just a way to have them also eat belly fat and excrete gasoline.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted September 1, 2009 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    I wonder if I’d be allergic to robot bees… If only Philip K. Dick were still here to explore such things.

  2. Posted September 1, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    As long as they pollinate Mors ontologica, I’m good.

  3. Calem Oet
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Synthetic Honey from Robotic Bees

    good album title

  4. Gretchen Forshay
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    If only they could play Flight of the Bumblebee!

    ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y41DykcpgRg

  5. Neil
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    You don’t have to be a sci-fi geek to know this is going to end bad.

  6. Posted September 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    There’s no cause for alarm. If the robot bees get out of hand, we’ll just create robot predators to go after them.

  7. Meta
    Posted September 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Good NY Times feature on colony colapse:

    http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/02/saving-bees-what-we-know-now/

  8. Kim
    Posted May 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I was reading an article on colony collapse, remembered this thread, and thought that people might find it interesting. According to researchers, as many as 1/3 of all bee colonies died off this winter.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/146701/bee_catastrophe%3A_1_3_of_colonies_died_this_winter%2C_worries_grow_about_terminal_decline

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