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: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

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!
Emerging Tech

Healthy mice born from two genetic mothers using stem cells, gene editing

Healthy mice have been born from two genetics mothers and later went on to bear healthy offspring of their own, according to a recent paper published by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Mobile

Razer Phone 2 vs. Razer Phone: Is it time to level up?

Razer surprised us with a gaming phone last year, but now it's back with a new, improved version. We take a look at the differences between the Razer Phone 2 and the original Razer Phone to find out exactly what has changed.
Emerging Tech

Boston Dynamics is trying to make fetch happen with its new working robot dog

Boston Dynamics wants to see Spot in the workplace, but not as part of take-your-dog-to-work days. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the technology company believes its extraordinary robo-dog is now ready to start work.
Emerging Tech

With cameras that know dogs from Dodges, Honda is making intersections safer

Honda and the city of Marysville, Ohio are working on creating a smart intersection. The goal would not only help better direct the flow of traffic, it could also help save the lives of pedestrians and cyclists.
Emerging Tech

Regular paints and plastics will soon be able to ‘heal’ like skin

Imagine if paints, plastics, or other coatings could heal up like human skin in the event that they suffered damage. Thanks to researchers at Clemson University, such technology is almost here.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how Microsoft’s Hololens is helping NASA build the new Orion spacecraft

Lockheed Martin is turning to Microsoft’s mixed reality Hololens smartglasses to help build NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day help rocket astronauts as far afield as Mars.
Emerging Tech

Shrimp eyes inspire new camera focused on helping self-driving cars see better

By mimicking the vision of mantis shrimp, researchers were able to make significant improvements on today’s commercial cameras. They hope their technology can help mitigate accidents by letting self-driving vehicles see more clearly.
Emerging Tech

This intelligent parachute system can bail out clumsy drone pilots

Parachutes can save drones when they unexpectedly fall from the sky. Among a number of such systems, Austrian firm Drone Rescue is this week showing off its latest design that automatically deploys when it senses trouble.
Cars

‘Bloodhound’ rocket car needs a speedy cash injection to survive

The rocket-powered Bloodhound car has driven into difficulties, with the company behind the project needing a multi-million-dollar cash injection to save its dream of attempting a 1,000 mph land speed record.
Emerging Tech

Tokyo robotic warehouse needs almost no human workers

Uniqlo has unveiled its first robot-powered warehouse that requires 90 percent fewer human workers to operate. The Japanese clothing giant plans to invest close to $1 billion dollars to convert all of its warehouses worldwide.
Emerging Tech

Curious how A.I. 'brains' work? Here's a super-simple breakdown of deep learning

What is deep learning? A branch of machine learning, this field deals with the creation of neural networks that are modeled after the brain and adept at dealing with large amounts of human-oriented data, like writing and voice commands.
Emerging Tech

Drop everything and watch Boston Dynamics’ robo-dog dance to ‘Uptown Funk’

After a few years of Earthbound training, Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robot dog is ready to take on Mars. Bruno Mars, to be precise. Check out Skynet's future pet as you've never seen it before.