Honey Bees Fitted With Sensor Backpacks For Swarm Sensing

Posted: Aug 29 2015, 6:44am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Honey Bees Fitted with Sensor Backpacks for Swarm Sensing
Bee with a backpack… of the sensor variety. / CSIRO
  • Scientists attaching Computerized Backpacks on Honey Bees for Research Purposes

Australian scientists are attaching computerized backpacks on honey bees for research purposes.

The world’s crops depend on honey bees for pollination. However, their populations aren’t thriving anymore. They seem to be heading south. There are certain mysterious factors that are harming their health.

A bunch of experts hailing from CSIRO, Australia’s science agency, cooperated with GIHH. That is to study the honey bee populations. The fall in bee population began prior to the current millennium.

The diseases rampant among bees simply skyrocketed. The blame has been laid at the feet of pesticides, certain vectors and climatic change. But there are many other unknown reasons too.

The latest study employs RFID micro-sensors to find out the truth. These tiny circuits are attached in the form of backpacks. That is to the lumbar regions of bees with superglue and tweezers.

Every single backpack acts like a bar code for the particular bee. It is the source of the bee’s identity. These backpacks don’t harm the bees in any manner and will remain on their backs for a lifetime.

Solar powered Intel boards will be used inside the bee hives to record the locomotion of the bees. The stresses and strains the bees are encountering will be better understood. That is via this methodology.

Among the stressors that will get recorded may be included: disease, insecticides, air quality, water pollution, diet factors and highs and lows of climate. The real causes of their deaths in such high numbers is being determined. Thousands of bees will be equipped with these backpacks.

The backpacks can be said in a punning manner to be a sting operation that goes in favor of the buzzing bees. These circuits are not fashion but necessity. The micro-sensors in the teensy weensy backpacks are very sensitive.

RFID stands for radio frequency identification technology. The behavior of the bees will get noted down thanks to these tags. The backpacks are not a burden since they weigh barely 5.4 milligrams.

The collapse of bee colonies will direly affect the global food supply. Mankind must act fast lest the majority end up starving. The chips on the bees look like bionic devices. But they are the least invasive things that are around for miles.

And they prove that man can help his animal and insect cousins in their evolution. To take care of the planet now that we are the dominant species is a laudable goal.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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