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The solution to the declining bee population may lie in drones
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CIS Professor Jan VanAardt interviewed for WHEC-TV report

Mar. 30, 2017
Brianna DiPilato

The declining honey bee population could have some significant impacts on local fruit farmers and beekeepers that sell honey.

Luckily for beekeeper and operator of Brighton Honey Ward Graham, his bees are doing just fine this season but he says it is a struggle trying to keep them alive.

"It's becoming more visible, people are starting to realize this is a problem,” said Graham.

Graham says he believes the bee population problem stems from impacts from the environment.

"With pesticides and climate change right now is really devastating bees," said Graham.

So could the solution to this problem lie in the form of gadgets like drones?

Engineers at the Rochester Institute of Technology say it's possible. They've already found uses for drones in the agricultural world, using them to help farmers tend to specific plants without having to treat an entire field.

"We can literally look at the plant level and tell if a plant is thirsty, if a plant needs nutrients or if a plant is sick,” said Jan Van Aardt, Imaging Science Professor at RIT.

Engineers also say developing and using pollinating drones is still a ways off.

"These types of drone systems we're talking about, like the ones here, are very large in size, so for that bee application obviously you'd want it to be much, much smaller,” says RIT Mechanical Engineering Professor Agamemnon Crassidis. "Possibly within five to ten years, I can see that happening but as of today, we're not quite there.”

However, beekeepers like Graham see these drones just as a temporary solution.

“One, yes this is a stopgap to get us past this problem but two, let's focus on the underlying problem and try to mitigate that impact.” Said Graham.

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Original Source: WHEC-TV