Today is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun is shining and I saw the tiny tips of crocus and one tulip tip in the garden. 💕 My weather app says it’s only 32° but the RealFeel right now is 42°. Yes, I could actually sit on our deck with a light jacket and soak up the sun.
Very soon we should be seeing and hearing a few early spring insects buzzing around looking for nectar in the garden. But maybe not. From what I’ve been reading in science news, perhaps we will not actually seeing insects at all. We may be seeing pollinating drones in our future gardens. With news of insects on the decline globally and more than 75% of the world’s food crop depending on insects and animals, drones may be taking on the huge role of pollination.
And, lo and behold, it is Walmart that could be going into the business of garden and crop pollination in the future. In 2017 Walmart filed a patent for RoboBees or Autonomous Flying Microrobot drones that pollinate as a swarm. Developed at Harvard University, the goal for the RoboBees is to pollinate crops, identify pests, monitor damage, and spray pesticides. They can fly, stick to walls, some models dive into and out of water and, as a bonus, they can be helpful in search and rescue missions.
A single RoboBee weighs about as much as a real bee and is about the size of a penny. To be effective, they must have a sustained power source and be able to make complex navigation patterns using microchips. Time will tell just how efficient these robo-colonies of bee pollinators will be.
I hope we never need to find out.
Fingers crossed tightly there’s enough of a global effort to help protect the pollinators we already have…. the ideal ones that nature provides. Insects.