Sweet Anticipation / by Louisa Ulrich-Verderber

I, like many people, have a sweet tooth. I can never seem to fight the delicious pull of chocolate, the temptation of ice cream, or the gravity of baked goods. But out of all these sweets, the one I love the most is honey.

Honey is somehow both sweet, and tart, and it adds a little extra joy to whatever I'mm eating. I love to drizzle honey on toast, in tea or coffee, on a bagel with cream cheese, or have it over ice cream.

But, I think my favorite thing about honey is not how it tastes, but where it comes from. I have here a wonderful piece all about bees, their life, and honey! 

NOVA chronicles a year in the life of a bee colony with stunning images that take viewers inside the innermost secrets of the hive. The documentary team spent a year developing special macro lenses and a bee studio to deliver the film's astonishing sequences. Via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtKqic69xVo

I think bees have a tremendous amount to teach us in the realm of Biomimicry.

Their gentle process of manufacturing could be studied and adopted. In the human world manufacturing making something generally requires a lot of heat, chemicals, and shaping in order to create the product. However, in the bee hive honey is made simply by collecting nectar, and allowing the nectar to coagulate in comb cells to form honey, no high temperatures, no injected chemicals. A process that, besides the collection of the nectar, takes very, very little energy on the part of the bees. 

All of nature follows this low energy, high reward framework of production. Clams and other shelled sea creatures collect calcium and other minerals form the sea water in order to produce their strong shells. Plants utilize simple chemical reactions in order to turn sunlight, minerals, and water into long lasting and complex starches and sugars. If manufacturers found ways to make plastics, rubbers, paper, and other heavily used materials more efficiently think of all the energy that could be saved! 

Think what we could achieve if we could program great swarms of drones to carry out joint tasks, like the bees. We could construct buildings (with large, sturdy drones of course) without the need for people, lowering the rate of construction related accidents. But what if we could make tiny drones the size of bees, what could we do then?

There actually is a group doing just that. The Robobee lab at Harvard University has succeeded in making a robot bee. This tiny machine is smaller than a penny, and pushes the limits of current mechanical engineering with its size. The team thinks these robots could be used to remotely pollinate crops, aid in search and rescue as they can fit through gaps that people or other robots cannot, and enhance weather prediction accuracy and traffic monitoring. 

Whether they're minuscule robots or bees in the flesh, these creatures can do amazing things, I can't wait to see them in the spring!   

Via: http://beneficialbugs.org/bugs/Honeybee/honeybee_genehanson.jpg