Scientists put backpacks with geolocation on bees

(ORDO NEWS) — A team of researchers from Tasmania decided to find out why so many bees bred in their city. To find out, they had to equip the insects with sensors.

What did they do with the bees?

  • Bees were caught while collecting nectar;
  • They were euthanized and frozen in a freezer;
  • 3D-printed backpacks with 0.18-gram radio transmitters;
  • Attached to the back of the bees and thawed them.

When the bees wake up after cooling, they do not feel the artificial load in the form of a radio backpack.

Insects are released into the wild and their movement is observed for 5 days. Then the backpack itself falls off the bees.

Scientists put backpacks with geolocation on bees 2
James Mackinson of WSU’s Hawkesbury Environmental Institute attaches a radio transmitter to a bumblebee

Scientists have already tested this tracking technology on birds and mammals. The researchers say that the backpack for bees is the smallest that has been created.

Scientists put backpacks with geolocation on bees 3
And this is what a radio receiver looks like, which allows you to track bee colonies

Tracking bees using backpacks showed scientists that these insects have learned to extract nectar from a special type of eucalyptus.

Because of it, the bees make much more honey, which allows them to multiply at an incredible rate.

In the future, scientists want to create an even smaller backpack to track the behavior of ants and other small insects.

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