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.