artificial pollination drones

Can Pollination Drones Replace Butterflies and Bees

Due to the climatic situation of our planet, bees may be at risk of disappearing and consequently, the pollination process may be compromised. Given these facts, drones have begun to take centre stage in this area.

Pollination Drones

The drones are a tool that has been used in various fields and particularly during these months of the global pandemic by the COVID-19. Before this, autonomous robots had a leading role as deliverymen and rangers among others.

Faced with climate change and human intervention in habitats, many pollinating animals are in an atypical situation since they make it difficult for them to prosper and may even disappear in a matter of years. In short, plants depend on animals like bees to produce fruit, but given the situation, bees have gradually decreased.

For many experts, the loss of bees is a global crisis and therefore an artificial pollination method is needed. This is when the use of drones comes into the picture.

Using Soap Bubbles

Because of this situation, the scientific community has been creating robots capable of pollinating. One of these measures is bee drones that distribute pollen-laden soap bubbles to promote artificial pollination.

This drone features a bubble gun with a pollen solution. The bubble shells are fired into an orchard and thus pollinate the flowers as the bubbles appear on the surface.

The researchers tested five different substances to see which solution was more effective in increasing the propagation properties of the liquid. The best option was Lauramidopropyl betaine, a substance that behaves like soap and creates stable bubbles and facilitates the growth of pollen. With this substance, each bubble contains 2,000 grains of pollen.

This artificially pollinated drone had a 90% success rate and could implant the pollen bubbles from a height of two meters and at a speed of two meters per second.

The creators of this robot explain that the activity of the pollen in the soap bubbles remained stable for three hours compared to other products that lost its effectiveness in a short time.

Eijiro Miyako, the author of the study, explained that “the soap bubble allows effective pollination and ensures that the quality of the fruits is the same as with traditional pollination”.

It may seem like a very effective solution to alleviate this climate crisis, but there is much room for improvement because the bubbles are vulnerable to weather conditions. That is, the bubbles disappear when there is wind or rain.

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