bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Monday, March 05, 2007

Honeybees as canaries

Montana researchers believe that the buzzing of a colony of honeybees may indicate the presence of certain chemicals and even the presence of the varroa mite. Using artificial neural networks, the same technology behind voice recognition software, they say they will be able to analyze the buzzing to determine the specific buzz for each chemical.

“We found bees respond within 30 seconds or less to the presence of a toxic chemical,” said Jerry Bromenshenk of Bee Alert Technology, Inc and the University of Montana. “But the real surprise was that the sounds bees produce can actually tell what chemical is hitting them.”

“We can tell not only whether the colony has mites or not,” he said, “but also the level of infestation they have. The sounds they make change with every stressor in characteristic ways.”

Bromenshenk says he and his colleagues hope to translate the technology into a handheld device that could instantly detect an infestation.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahhhh, lots of us beekeepers use stethoscope....maybe we can be trained to detect varroa with our stethoscope....hmmmmm

1:21 am  

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