Around here, we understand the importance of bees. That explains the numerous posts on these winged creatures. If you must know right away, bees are guardians of the food chain and keepers of biodiversity, thanks to their super power of pollination. Precisely why it’s a cause for worry when we hear of their numbers dwindling. Now, an international group of scientists, beekeepers, farmers and technology companies is using cutting-edge technology to help find out why honey bee populations around the world are crashing.
Minuscule sensors have been glued to the backs of 10,000 healthy honey bees around the world to help understand why huge numbers of bees are dying.
Like electronic tags that track the movement of cars through toll roads, these tiny trackers send information back to receivers half the size of a credit card that are strategically placed at bee hives.
Australian researchers involved in the global research project compare the sensor to an adult carrying a backpack, weighing about a third of what a honey bee can carry. But unlike the average backpacker, this extra load will remain in place for the rest of the bee’s life.
Each sensor will record a bee’s exposure to pesticides, air pollution and water contamination, as well as taking note of the insect’s diet and the weather. Bees are normally predictable creatures, so changes in their behaviour can indicate stress factors or a change in their environment.
Read more about the tiny trackers here.