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Pollination by RoboBees, Genetics by Engineering

Humm, ahem, buzz,
Humm, ahem, buzz,
David Russell Schilling

Dinner fixin's: Light, water, honeybees

Honeybees have been doing the pollinating around this planet for as long as some of us olde-timers can remember. Today is different. It’s a new kind of buzz. Pesticide strategies have integrated viral mutants that jump back and forth between plant and animal realms to concoct the current class that is causing global concerns – neonicotinoids.

Viral engineering amounts to blending chosen traits to eliminate competition. This particularly nasty class of pesticides draws on un-mapped new worlds in a cross-kingdom conquest that is taking the familiar honeybees' buzz light years out. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is a fungicide/pesticide extraordinaire.

Just when we had a few billion folks relying on sun, rain and bees, the last thing in the world we need is getting blindsided by the loss of our pollinator pals sporting their signature black and gold bee-suits and keeping that ole stinger at the ready. Honey was just the icing on the cake compared to the veggies, grasses, fruits oh my.

Tragically, the honey bee seems to be an intended consequence, and for one darn good reason – to sell the RoboBee in the wake of Pristine.

Pristine eliminates bees, competition and diversity – a coup for all time

Sold under the product name “Pristine” by German giant BASF, the pesticide is linked to irreversible Colony Collapse Syndrome (CCS) in honey bee populations world-wide. As a result, the European Union agreed to a minimum 2-year moratorium and temporarily banned the application of the entire class of this fatal mutant angel/devil… in EUROPE!

This spring, however, California beekeepers noticed millions of dead honeybees falling from the air. EPA tests trace the CCS to Pristine. So how are we going to pollinate our dinners? Overheard in the fields, "As soon as the spray started, the bees started falling... by the jillions. Bees everywhere. Dying buzzing bees."

Unfortunately in America, our EPA and its revolving door with giants such as Monsanto, things are business as usual. This California Pristine invasion opens the door to brave new opportunities for drones of a different kind – a programmable and manufactured field-service processor to outsource pollination. Just business as usual, my friends. Upgrading, always upgrading.

RoboBee to the Rescue

From the hallowed halls of Harvard hums the brave new RoboBee. This well-funded project is $10 million and many take-offs into the new landscapes. The technology integrates sciences in ways never dreamed. Inputs from fish and hummingbirds, chemists and neuro-scientists and agronomists have taken prototypes the size of thumbnails to new heights!

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has joined other well-funded collaborators. The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Northeastern University’s Department of Biology manage the investigative and production efforts with many sources of funding, including agriculture interests and grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dinner depends tonight. It always did, but up until now, we had our bee buddies and peace of mind. Now it depends on trusting the guys who killed our friendly beehives to rent us their mechanical drone technology to outsource pollination to manufactured Robobees.

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