I read KQED’s Do Now “Should we Use Drones to Pollinate Crops?” I was immediately very intrigued by this article, the two questions came to mind: 1. Would this affect animals that already naturally pollinate plants? And 2. Why are drones necessary if we already have natural pollinators? Turns out that beekeepers have reported that there has been a 30% decline in the bee population per year! 😦 This annual decline has greatly affected us because not all fruits and vegetable plants can be pollinated, leaving farmers with a decrease in available produce. 43 of the top food crops are solely dependent on animals (mainly honey bees) for pollination!
Scientists are trying to find other means to pollinate plants. A scientist from Japan, Eijiro Miyako, designed a small drone that is able to pollinate plants. Like the honey bee, the drone flies from plant to plant and has a patch of hair coated in ionic liquid gel that the pollen sticks to.
When I read this, I was worried about our honey bee population! The 30% annual decline can eventually lead to honey bee extinction if something doesn’t change. I think that it is amazing that scientists area able to create technology that will suffice when nature does not. However, I personally think that efforts must be focussed on ensuring that the Honey Bee Population increases, rather than creating a device to replace them. I wonder how much the drone pollinator costs and how accessible it would be. Would the average gardener have a drone, or mainly farmers? I also am curious about how much the drone costs.
Overall, I think that the drone pollinator could be very beneficial! However, we need to look at the current state of the environment and the possible effects of using the drone pollinator.
Click here to read the KQUED Do Now!