BEES TO BE REPLACED BY ROBOT POLLINATORS ?
From The Sun Newspaper Tuesday 20th February
"BEE-BOT CROP AID"
reported that robotic bees could be used to pilinate crops due the worldwide losses in bee colonies.
Three quaters of crops rely on insects for pollination and so Scientists at Havard niversityin the USA have developed remote cotrol "RoboBees" which
are smaller than a paper-clip.
The leaind developer of the new style "bee" said these could be available for use withn about five years. These little robots will be fitted with GPS trackers and asingle bee could accept a command such as "Go to these
10 flowers"while the rest oftheir roboic pals could receive a another simIar instruction.
This may get the crops pollinated, but could it lead to a reductinon in pesticde controls?
What would happen to the price of honey as it becomes rarer?
Many questions come to mind.
Your comments would be appreciated ! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by Graham Robinson.
DO YOU KNOW BEES SAY “WHOOPS” WHEN THEY BUMP INTO EACH OTHER!
Interestingly this article was stimulated by a recent question on the “Q.I.” programme on t.v. (click
on underline words to jumpto the actual article)
Researchers used to think that the “Whoops” sound was made as a ‘stop/’ signal only but recently researchers have found that honeybees
do actually produce a “whoop” sound when they bump into each other, the noise might just be conveying surprise as we might
say “Oops!” they make a sound that goes “Whoops!” Not too dissimilar is it?. Bees produce the sound with their wing muscles to create the vibrational pulse. One
of the research team, physicist Martin Bencsik from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. said, "We have found that this signal is
remarkably common, much more than previously thought."
It's well known that honeybees communicate through vibrational signals,
but why the bees actually make them has been up for debate. Way back in the 1950’s, scientists suggested that the vibration signal was used as a request for food, as they observed that the noise was
often followed by the bees exchanging meals. Later, researchers also noticed that the noise was
used to inhibit another bee from performing a waggle dance – a form
of communication used to tell other bees where to go to forage. The stopping of this waggle dance suggest that it worked as a 'stop signal' for some
reason better known to the bee itself.
But new research suggests that the way the bees were investigated
in those past studies was flawed, and the signal is more common than we thought. "Scientists in
the past have explored this signal in artificial circumstances where they ensured that the bees under investigation would be trying to inhibit other bees," said Bencsik.
He also went on to explain,
“In our latest research studies, we have not manipulated our bees in any way, and this has revealed totally unexpected results, yielding
new interpretations but also yet more mystery around this brief honeybee vibrational pulse." The team placed accelerometers into the centre of two hives in the UK and in France to record bee noises that are inaudible to the human ear. The vibrations were recorded for a year, and computer software scanned the recordings for the vibration "whooping" noise. He goes on to say "We believe that in only a small number of instances is it used as an inhibitory signal and therefore have proposed a new name – the 'whooping' signal."
The team found that the accelerometer would pick up six or seven "whoops" a minute, and from a very small area in the honeycomb. "There's
no way a bee was trying to inhibit another one that frequently, and there's no way a bee would request food that frequently," Bencsik
told Sam Wong at New Scientist.
When the researchers also placed cameras inside the hive, they noticed that it happened
most when the bees bumped into each other, but it also happened if the hive was knocked or shaken. "We suggest that, in the majority of instances, it is bees being startled that produce the signal," says Bencsik. In other words the bees are doing the bee equivalent of a surprised gasp – and it makes these adorable noises even better!
But the researchers aren't done yet – the team is now investigating
if stressed colonies whoop more than unstressed colonies. "It shows promise that our methods can be used as a sensitive way of monitoring and assessing colony status for these hugely important pollinators," said
one of the researchers, Michael Ramsey.
What's next ? Technology & pollenation!
Drones but not those created in a bee-hive! [click the lunderlined link below to see the video
of them in action]
Rezearchers are now looking at Black Mirror - style bee drones to
replace the real thing, supposedly to help the current ack of bee population.
See :- http://www.sciencealert.com/the-world-s-first-pollinating-drone-could-be-the-answer-to-the-bee-pocalypse
We certainly don't
want to lose those cute "whoops" if robot drones become the norm.
Article by Graham Robinson
With thanks to Jacinta Bowler;
The Daily Mail; The New Scientist; Science Alert; Phys.org/news;
Further reading : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4224136/Honey-bees-let-whoop-noise-startled.html#ixzz4xhFAnzR3