Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Honeybees in the Military

I think I now know one reason why there is a shortage of these busy little pollinators -- they've been drafted into the military! The Defense Department put $2 million into the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project. Yup, their keen sense of smell got a bunch of honey bees a gig as explosives sniffers. No joke -- using the Pavlov method, honeybees were fitted with tiny harnesses holding tinier cameras and trained to sniff-out TNT and plastic explosives. They were exposed to different chemicals for a few seconds and rewarded with sugar water when they identified explosives. Now I don't argue with trying to avoid death and mutilation by early detection of explosives, but training honeybees. . . ? I think they're much more effective pollinating plants and should be left to this crucial service.


Kari said...

Especially since so many of them are gone already. Poor honeybees.

dcpeg said...

Glad to hear from you, Kari. I was worried.