(The Bakersfield Californian) BeeWhere, a smartphone app introduced statewide in California last fall, lets beekeepers register their colonies’ location so that companies applying pesticides and fungicides know not to spray or fumigate nearby during daytime hours when honey bees tend to be outside their hives. According to California state law, chemicals deemed to be a threat to honey bees may not be applied within one mile of a bee colony.
(CNET) A team at Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland developed this fast, agile robot. “DEAnsect is propelled by soft artificial muscles: It can be twisted, bent, squeezed, while retaining its functionality.”
(Bee Culture) Israeli agritech startup Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture has successfully completed field trials in almond orchards in Israel using its unique mechanical pollen harvesting and pollination system. The field trials are crucial for advancing the company’s planned entry into the huge almond market in California.
(Phys.org/Norwegian University of Science and Technology) “These materials are really cool. One of their properties is that they expand if you apply an electrical voltage to them, but return to normal when the electrical voltage is removed. You can use this feature to create a small and efficient engine that can mimic the way bees fly.”
(EurekAlert/Entomological Society of America) While the field of morphology is centuries old, the last two decades have brought incredible leaps forward through the emergence of new technologies and genetic research methods. And the impact of these advances has been revolutionary for the scientists working to untangle the vast biodiversity and evolutionary paths of the world of insects.
(Engadget) Tiny robotic fliers aren’t exactly durable at present, but they may be tough critters before long. Harvard researchers have developed a RoboBee that uses soft, artificial muscles to fly without taking damage. The robot can smack into walls, crash-land or even collide with fellow ‘bees’ without getting hurt.
(Wired) Before astronauts and scientists head to the moon or Mars, they’ll prepare by living and working in space-analog environments on volcanoes, deep inside caves, at the South Pole, and even underwater. But this training isn’t just for humans: in a recent experiment, the potential space cadets were 90,000 bees. The goal was to see whether bees could join a mission to the moon or Mars, where these prolific pollinators could help sustain gardens attached to a base. The initial results weren’t great.