For the first time ever an apple orchard was pollinated by a drone. Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard, in LaFayette, New York, commissioned a company called Dropcoter to pollinate a portion of its orchard. By harvest time they will be able to tell if the drone-pollenated plants returned a higher yield of apples compared to the rest of the orchard.
The goal of the project is to see if drone pollinators could replace or supplement the work traditionally done by bees, should their population continue to decline.
What are the wider implications of employing drones as pollinators? What unlooked-for impacts might there be on the ecosystems?
And what are the limitations? Drones won't address the falling bee population: will their use distract from the need for regenerative approaches?