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Can 'worker flies' help Japan beat a honeybee shortage?

While popular with growers, squeamish consumers remain a hurdle

Fruit growers in Toyoda, Aichi Prefecture are using flies to pollinate strawberry flowers. (Photo by Koji Uema)

TOKYO -- Faced with declining numbers of honeybees, farmers in Japan are turning to a special breed of flies to pollinate crops.

Negative preconceptions aside, the practice is drawing attention as a new way to pollinate, one not affected by weather or stinging bees. Still, whether fly-based pollination can win over squeamish consumers enough to gain widespread acceptance is yet to be seen.

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