Study Shows Soap Bubbles Can Pollinate Crops If Bees Aren’t Available

Even though bees had a very good year, with the second smallest winter hive loss in 14 years, there’s even more good news. There’s a new pollinator in town. Bees and other pollinators like butterflies are essential to farmers who grow flowering crops like fruit orchards and almonds. However, with bee populations suffering over the last decade due to a variety of factors, that’s not always possible. Now, an innovative researcher in Japan may have found the perfect solution. Eljiro Miyako, an associate professor at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, has successfully used soap bubbles to pollinate a pear orchard by delivering pollen grains to targeted flowers in the most delicate way, utilizing a drone. The technique would be much cheaper and more effective than other types of manual pollination. Soap bubbles have innovative potentiality and unique properties, such as effective and convenient delivery of pollen grains to targeted flowers and high flexibility to avoid damaging them. Although this approach to pollination appears promising, more techniques are still needed to improve its precision.