Sensors to find why honeybees are vanishing

Written by | January 19, 2014 | 0

SYDNEY: Alarmed at the dwindling bee population around the world, scientists have found a novel way to find out what’s really causing their colonies to collapse.

A team of researchers in Australia is inserting sensors in thousands of honeybees in Hobart, Tasmania.
Each sensor contains radio frequency identification technology.

“Every time the bee passes certain checkpoints, its presence would get logged and the data would then be sent to a central research location,” according to a press release issued by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency.

As many as 5,000 tiny sensors are being placed on honeybees, said Paulo de Souza, a scientist in charge of micro-sensor technologies and systems at CSIRO.

“Their goal is to visualize how bees move in the environment and what’s causing bee colonies to shrink,” said researchers from University of Tasmania.

“This is a non-destructive process and the sensors appear to have no impact on the bee’s ability to fly and carry out its normal duties,” Paulo de Souza said.

Colony collapse disorder is a known problem affecting bees around the world.

Next on the scientists’ agenda is to try fitting little cameras as ‘backpack’ on bees — or even smartphones.

Filed in: Science

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