BloomX has developed a method for mechanically pollinating crops, similar to the work done by bees. The objective is to provide more efficient and sustainable alternatives, reducing the reliance on commercial honeybees. The goal of the mechanical pollinators is not to replace nature’s pollinators.

In the United States, bees, including various types, are responsible for 75% of the pollination of fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the country. Europe mirrors this reliance with 75% of pollination also attributed to bees. Other insects such as wasps and butterflies contribute to the remaining 25%.

The bee populations are under immense pressure due to various factors, including climate change, habitat loss, and pesticide use. These challenges have led to declining bee numbers, raising concerns about food security and the sustainability of agriculture.

BloomX’s approach aims to address these issues by offering an alternative to traditional pollination methods. Their mechanical pollinators mimic the actions of bees even in extreme weather conditions.

BloomX’s technology is currently centred on two vital crops: blueberries and avocados. The product titled “Robee” resembles a large push-along lawnmower with two mechanical arms extending from its sides. These mechanical arms, however, serve a different purpose: they vibrate.

The secret to Robee’s success lies in the carefully calibrated vibration level, which mimics the natural vibrations produced by bumblebees during pollination. Bumblebees use their wings to agitate the flowers, a method that has proven highly effective for blueberry crops.

Bees, both farmed honeybees and wild species like bumblebees, are among the most significant contributors to this pollination process. The need for such innovations is important as approximately three out of every four crops worldwide that produce fruits or seeds for human consumption depend on pollinators.

BloomX Founder Thai Sade and his team are working in tandem with nature, recognising the importance of bees and their contributions to agriculture.

For avocados, BloomX offers a tool known as “Crossbee.” Designed as a handheld device, Crossbee is engineered for the gathering and distribution of sticky pollen grains among avocado trees. This method ensures efficient pollination, potentially leading to an increase in fruit yields. BloomX claims that the use of Crossbee can result in up to a remarkable 30% improvement in yields.

Both Robee and Crossbee are integrated with an AI-based software system that connects to a mobile phone app. This technological synergy provides farmers with insights into the pollination process, allowing them to optimise their operations. GPS technology is also a feature of these devices, enabling farm workers to track the areas of a field that have been treated.