Bee populations are declining at such a rate that even Walmart wants to get into the robotic bee business. Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Coming to Walmart: Robotic Bees on Aisle One

They are not in a field near you just yet, but robo-bees could very well be pollinating your sunflowers and roses in the near future. Since several types of bees and bumblebees are already on the endangered species list, the discount store believes this could solve a stinging problem for gardeners and farmers, according to an article by Bonnie Burton from CNET states.

It looks like Walmart wants to help. On March 8, the company filed a patent for autonomous robot bees called pollination drones, which can help to pollinate crops.

Right out of a sci-fi movie, these bees will have cameras that will detect disease and can keep an eye on the plants progress as it grows. Walmart also filed five other patents for farming drones, including one drone that tracks down plant pests, and another that monitors the ongoing health of various crops, according to Science Alert. 

This isn’t the first time this idea made ripples in the news, either.

The artificial pollinators aren’t exactly the stuff of futuristic dreams. Harvard University researchers introduced the first RoboBees in 2013. More recently in 2017, an industrial design student at Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design created Plan Bee⎯a drone controlled by a smart device that artificially pollinates flowers.

So what’s next? Personal wasps or hornets to take with you in your purse or backpack for protection? Perhaps not, but robo bees may be just the beginning in technological advances to  support agriculture.