Researchers breeding Canadian super bee to save world’s food supply

bees by bcjordan via FlickrThe honeybee population has been steadily on the decline for decades. Though it’s not quite understood why the bees are dying off, scientists have decided to breed “super bees” in order to ensure the survival of these important insects. Researchers are hoping that by breeding for strength, these new super honeybees will be resistant to the many factors that have contributed to the population decline.

The reason why all this fuss is being raised about these little insects is because bees are essential to the world’s food supply and economy; 90% of the world’s food crops are pollinated by bees. According to the U.N., each year viruses and mites kill off 85% Middle Eastern bees, 30% of European bees and close to a third of American bees. Mites are particularly insidious since they latch on to honeybees, slowly drain their blood and then go to work on larvae crippling bee populations at the source. If the larvae survive the attack, they come out as weak and broken adults.

Aside from viruses and mites, other factors have been suspected of causing the sharp population decline recently; from pesticides to climate change to even rampant cell phone use. Rather than invest in pesticides or address any one of these factors, researchers at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg have decide to breed for bees that can withstand enemies on all fronts.

Using Canadian bees as prototypes for the master bee race, the researchers have been shipping queen bees from mite-resistant hives to the other end of Canada. The travel ensures “disease pressure” and supposedly leaves behind the strong survivors. These Canadian bees are also more winter resistant compared to European honeybees who survive with only 46% of their population intact.

Though this is not as panacea as Fast Company points out, these Canadian super bees could help buy scientists more time to sort out the confusion and figure out a more permanent solution to the crises.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Outdoors

Snooze soundly anywhere you lay your head with the best sleeping bags

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Outdoors

Drink what nature provides with the best water purifiers

Looking for reliable water purification? Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are hiking or camping far from civilization. Check out our picks of the best water purifiers for your camp, backpack, or pocket.
Photography

Going somewhere? Capture more than your phone can with the best travel cams

Hitting the road or doing some globetrotting this year? Bring along the right camera to capture those once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories. Here's a list of some of our current favorites.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.