Bees Sniff Out Landmines After Training

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Bees Sniff Out Landmines

One of the most insidious and indiscriminate weapons of war have to be landmines. They kill and maim without discrimination or care both during, and for decades after wars have ended. One of the biggest problems is that once laid they are extremely difficult to find and dispose of, and many people and animals encounter them with dramatically awful, life changing and occasionally fatal results. So it would make sense to use unconventional methods to find them, such as the use of bees to sniff out landmines.

Researchers in Croatia are working on an all natural solution to the problem of landmines. Following the Balkans war on the early 1990’s the landscape was littered with landmines. Many people each year are killed and injured by these hidden devices of war, quite often in fields that have been declared cleared of the menace. It’s because of this reason that scientists are training honey bees to sniff out landmines.

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Why use bees to sniff out landmines?

Scientists are hoping to use the bees fantastic sense of smell to sniff out the landmines and then use humans to clear the are of them. They hope to do this by getting the bees to associate the smell of the explosive with their food. Since bees can sniff out the landmines explosive material without detonating the device, it allows for a much safer method of detection.

While the experiment is still only in its testing phase, the results thus far seem promising. Zagreb University professor Nikola Kezic says it is easy to train a bee, but difficult to train an entire colony, however he does believe it is possible.

Bees have been used to detect mines in the past by the US, but the mines tested didn’t contain TNT which the mines in Croatia mainly consist of. Rats and dogs have also been used in the past, however the risk of detonation by the animals was highly probable due to the incredible sensitivity of the devices.

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