News Stories

Bee Warning System

We've written about how mice and roaches can help detect bioterrorism. Now we've learned that bees can too?assuming there will be any left to do so.

Researchers have discovered that bees communicate with each other by doing what may be a quantum dance. Now a University of Montana research team has learned to understand the collective buzzing of bees in their hives, which can provide a biological alert system.

The researchers, who work for Bee Alert Technology Inc., have found that the insects buzz differently when exposed to various poisonous chemicals. Jerry Bromenshenk says, "We found bees respond within 30 seconds or less to the presence of a toxic chemical. The military is interested in that for countering terrorism. But the real surprise was that the sounds bees produce can actually tell what chemical is hitting them."

Scott Debnam, a Bee Alert field technician and self-described "bee whisperer," says that people have known for centuries that hives make a different sound when the queen is removed. Now modern listening equipment and computer software have revealed a secret bee vocabulary much more intricate than previously thought.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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