Bees that are trained to detect bombs

Bees, once trained, can detect explosive vapors, using their Proboscis Extension Reflex, and are safely returned to their hives after their detection tenure.
Interesting Engineering

In the quest for innovative and eco-friendly bomb detection methods, researchers have turned to an unexpected ally: bees. The process begins with the careful collection of bees using specialized vacuums, ensuring their safe capture and subsequent well-being. In the controlled environment of a lab, the bees' metabolic rates are slowed, making them easier to manage during training.

Here, they are introduced to the scent of explosive vapors, accompanied by a reward of sugary water. Over time, the bees form a remarkable association between the explosive scent and this sweet reward, showcasing their remarkable Proboscis Extension Reflex (PER), which becomes the primary indicator of their detection capabilities. To harness this unique ability, researchers employ two distinct methods, one involving cameras and computer algorithms and the other utilizing an infrared LED system to gauge proboscis extension.

After their brief tenure in bomb detection, the bees are ethically returned to their hives, ensuring their well-being throughout this ingenious process. This remarkable fusion of biology and technology opens doors to sustainable and highly sensitive detection methods for a safer world.