Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Croatian Bees Sniff Out Landmines

By Nicholas Walton, BBC News, 5/30/2007

A new technique to help find unexploded landmines using honey bees is being developed at Zagreb University in Croatia…

Training the bees to find mines takes place in a large net tent pitched on a lawn at the university's Faculty of Agriculture.

A hive of bees sits at one end, with several feeding points for the bees set up around the tent.

But only a few of the feeding points contain food, and the soil immediately around them has been impregnated with explosive chemicals.

The idea is that the bees' keen sense of smell soon associates the smell of explosives with food. So far this has proved successful.

The first day or so is spent in the large net tent, getting the bees used to associating the smell of TNT with food.

After that several bees are taken out of the colony and tested to see if they react correctly when presented with extracts of explosives…

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