Mr. D.W., and Ms. M.W.(not related), sent along versions of this story, and Mr. D.W.'s email came along with the brief suggestion of a high octane speculation, which I am going to pass along. Here's the story...
A few years ago, GMOs - and more particularly, glyphosate, the chief ingredient in I.G. Farbensanto's "Round Up" weed killer - began to be connected in some studies to the phenomenon of honey bee colony collapse disorder. Long before that, people began to notice a strange thing - and I number myself in this category - there were fewer and fewer bees. In fact, when I was young, there were bees constantly buzzing around in my mother's flower garden, every day. Now, in my small little flower garden in front of my house, seldom, if ever, do I see any honey bees. It began even to be a topic of discussion on the then most popular overnight radio talk show in the USA, Art Bell's Coast to Coast AM. What mystified me, and many people, was with mounting evidence that GMOs were connected to the phenomenon (bees, after all, began to decline right at about the same time that GMO crops began to be introduced in a major way), there seemed to be no real concern in the USSA's corporate kleptocracy whatsoever.
Now we know why (citing the first article):
The drones would carry pollen from one plant to another, using sensors and cameras to detect the locations of the crops.
First spotted by CB Insights, the robot bee patent appears along five other patents for farming drones, including one that would identify pests and another that would monitor crop health. Walmart did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
While Walmart's exact goal for these patents is unclear, they may signal that the company hopes to venture into agriculture and gain more control over its food supply chain.
This would make sense, considering Walmart has recently focused on improving its grocery delivery business. (Emphasis added)
This is all part of a wider move to miniaturize drones for a variety of agricultural tasks, according to the second article:
Anxious about the food supply? Don't blame you. Pollinators at large, and bees in particular, are struggling to adapt to the Anthropocene world - and they're dropping dead in huge numbers while at it. But fret not, for retail giant Walmart is determined to soothe your fears; mainly by replacing them with an equally disturbing, Black Mirror-esque premise.
In a move first reported on by CB Insights, Walmart has filed a patent for autonomous bees. Technically called ‘pollination drones', these robots are meant to do just that: pollinate crops in lieu of real bees. They would carry pollen from one plant to another, relying on cameras and other sensors to identify crops and their flowers.
The patent appears alongside five other patents for farming drones, including one that would keep an eye out for pests and another tasked with monitoring crop health. It's not yet clear what Walmart plans to do with these patents; Business Insider tried to contact Walmart, but so far they didn't respond to their request for comment.
I think it's safe to assume that the company wants to get into agriculture, to gain more control over its food supply chain. (Emphasis added)
Now, both articles point out that these "pollinator drones" are far from readiness to deploy, but they also point out that they're a lot further along than just a few years ago.
And both articles are agreed on something else: substituting "pollinator drones" for real living honey bees allows corporations to gain control of yet another stage in the food supply chain. "Pollinator drones" as both articles point out, are "patentable" and therefore fall under proprietary ownership. In this case, however, Walmart, as most everyone knows, is one of the world's largest retailers, and has plans to expand its "home delivery" business for groceries. Amazon has similar plans, and even local grocery retailers are making moves toward "online shopping" and "home delivery.
No need for you to leave your home. Just go online, and file your grocery order, and it will be delivered, while the pollinator drones happily buzz in your flower garden and local farm fields that are planted with GMO crops, which are also patented. In other words, the entire food cycle is being corporatized.
Now, add to this those stories from decades ago when it was reported that the CIA was toying with the idea of making miniaturized electronic eavesdropping components to put on insects to spy on people in their homes, and it's a short step to the idea that "pollinator drones" could also be modified with surveillance equipment, and voila, yet another level of espionage and invasions of privacy are added to the mix, and following behind it, one can expect "laws" and "regulations" will be put in place to prevent citizens from destroying "private property" (i.e., the "pollinator drones") even if they're found on one's own property! After all, they belong to Walmart, or whomever.
So what was Mr. D.W.'s private high octane speculation? In his email that passed along the second article, he said "To be frank, the more I think about it the I wonder if the demise of the bees was intended..." And I have to wonder the very same thing.
See you on the flip side...