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Old January 26 2013, 05:10 AM   #1
Gary7
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Location: Near Manhattan иии in an alternate reality
Robobees and the future of the bee

We often think of population limits being based on usable space for habitation, but there are so many other factors to consider.

You may have heard about CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), where massive numbers of bees mysteriously die. They actually fly off from the hive never to return, with no indication as to why.

The situation is becoming more and more grave. Research has managed to pinpoint at least one confirmed cause of CCD, that being a virus that causes paralysis. But bees have also been known to vanish in areas where pesticides are heavily employed, weakening their immune systems, making them susceptible to fungi that stricken them until premature death occurs. There is also a theory that our massive agricultural production engine has significantly curtailed biodiversity for bees and they're becoming malnourished, ultimately compromising their ability to fight off viruses. See the PBS video, "The Silence of the Bees".

Meanwhile, a few different universities are trying to come up with nanobots that may eventually function like bees (Robobees). While a novel idea and noble ambition, I don't think that they'll ever really manage to recreate a bee's behavior and capability within our lifetimes. Still, the present concern is to achieve pollination of plants, not to create honey. I wonder if scientists could ever create fully artificial bees that would produce designer honey.

In any case, we have a huge dependency upon bees for crop pollination and without them, there will become a major food shortage as human populations continue to grow and pressure the agricultural industry simultaneously. It's a really unnerving situation. So... never kill a bee. Treat it with respect and if trapped in your home, help it safely leave.
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