Farmers turn to tech as bees struggle to pollinate
Honeybee numbers are struggling to sufficiently pollinate crops, therefore farmers in diverse countries are turning to technological advancements.
The inventor of the Israeli tech company BloomX, Thai Sade, has created a technique to automatically pollinate plants, providing a substitute for the dwindling honeybee population.
In order to lessen reliance on domestic honeybees, Sade makes it clear that their technology does not aim to replace bees. Instead, it offers more effective pollination techniques.
Around three-quarters of the world’s fruit and seed-producing crops rely on pollinators, especially bees, who play a critical role in agriculture.
Around 75% of fruits, nuts, and vegetable pollination in the US and Europe is carried out by bees. The usage of pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change have all had a negative effect on bee numbers. A second problem for European honeybees is the varroa destructor mite.
Blueberries and avocados are the main targets of BloomX’s cutting-edge technology, which includes items like “Robee” and “Crossbee,” which enables pollination even when bee populations are low. “Robee” is a vibrating lawnmower-like device that effectively pollinates blueberry plants by acting like bumble bees. The term “crossbee,” on the other hand, refers to a portable device used to move pollen between avocado plants. The GPS-enabled software system developed by BloomX guarantees accurate and effective pollination of agricultural fields.
California, which is a significant almond grower, mainly depends on honeybee pollination. Honeybees are sent in from all around the United States to fertilize its enormous almond orchards, perhaps resulting in a national scarcity of honeybees for other crops. This issue could be resolved with the use of artificial pollination, such that provided by BloomX and related businesses.
While acknowledging the value of pollinating almonds for beekeepers’ revenue, Washington State University’s Lisa Wasko DeVetter emphasizes the stress and high death rates that honeybees face throughout this operation. Furthermore, it has the potential to alter natural habitats and expose wild bees to fresh illnesses. By relieving the stress on honeybees, artificial pollination could provide a remedy.
Edete, a different Israeli tech company that specializes in artificial pollination, has created equipment to gather and store pollen for a number of years. Almond orchards are progressively utilizing this technique, which is mostly employed in California’s pistachio farms. Aiming to reduce stress on honeybees and promote their natural growth, Edete’s strategy will help pollinators and agriculture.
Diane Drinkwater from the British Beekeepers Association emphasizes that if bee health and wellbeing are prioritized, mechanical pollination may be virtually unneeded. She emphasizes that while migratory pollination can increase agricultural yields, honeybees require nectar and pollen to maintain their numbers. Bees have been used as natural pollinators for millions of years.