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Plagued by colony collapse disorder, the honeybees that do much of the world’s pollination work are in decline, and cheap access to many flowering plants that we depend on for food—from almonds to apples to soybeans—could follow them down.
Ideally, some intrepid scientist will find a fix for CCD, and the bees will be saved. But there could also be a technological solution to the pollination problem. Researchers have recently worked out the basics of a robotic bee which they say could be used to pollinate plants, search through disaster zones, or perform any variety of tasks where a small swarm of cooperative robots might come in handy.