Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Ultimate Sting: Bees The Buzz In Landmine Detection

Date:
April 28, 1999
Source:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
Forget James Bond and his souped-up BMW. The newest high-tech agent in the world of international security could be a honeybee.

Contact: Staci West -- (509) 372-6313, [email protected]

Related Articles


RICHLAND, Wash. - Forget James Bond and his souped-up BMW. The newest high-tech agent in the world of international security could be a honeybee.

Its mission? To detect landmines.

Its modus operandi? Tiny radio frequency tags.

Technology developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is helping to determine if bees pass muster as secret agents in the mission to find millions of landmines scattered worldwide.

Pacific Northwest engineers have modified commercially available radio-frequency tags, which store information and can be used to track items such as clothing, to serve as high-tech "backpacks" for bees. Pacific Northwest engineers also have designed special electronics and software for radio-frequency devices that "read" information on the tags. These devices will be mounted to manmade beehives.

Used together, these technologies will track the movement of bees and test their ability to detect minute amounts of explosives. If bees can be trained, they will be a means for locating landmines or unexploded ammunition on firing ranges or old battlefields.

The University of Montana in Missoula is coordinating this project, which is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense. Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, an entomologist at the university, pooled resources from three federal agencies and three national laboratories to conduct this research.

In a field test this spring, Pacific Northwest engineers and Bromenshenk's research team will tag 50 bees in a controlled experiment. Each tag will store information used to identify a bee and will weigh less than a grain of rice.

The RF tags and readers will allow researchers to track the movements of individual bees. For example, as a bee leaves for a day of pollen hunting, it will fly out of the hive and trigger the reader. The reader scans the tag on each bee, then sends the bee's identification code, direction of flight and the time to a modem. The modem downloads the data to a central computer. This process also will occur when a bee returns to the hive. Then, a system of analysis tools being developed by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and the Environmental Protection Agency will be installed inside the hives and scan for chemicals found in explosives. Together, the tracking information and the analysis tools could help pinpoint landmine locations.

Researchers also will conduct a second field test to study how far bees travel. This information will allow researchers to determine the greatest distance bees can forage and how long it takes them to reach the mines.

Pacific Northwest engineers developed a first generation of radio-frequency tags in the early 1990s for the garment industry to track inventory. Pacific Northwest engineers are improving the storage and range reading capabilities of the tags for national security applications.

Pacific Northwest is one of DOE's nine multiprogram national laboratories and conducts research in the fields of environment, energy, health sciences and national security. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated Pacific Northwest for DOE since 1965.

(Editors Note: A graphic can be found at: http://www.pnl.gov/news/1999/99-13.htm)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "The Ultimate Sting: Bees The Buzz In Landmine Detection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990427144130.htm>.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (1999, April 28). The Ultimate Sting: Bees The Buzz In Landmine Detection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990427144130.htm
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "The Ultimate Sting: Bees The Buzz In Landmine Detection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990427144130.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins