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I read about this topic a few months ago and now it's in the news!

http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/bees-could-be-put-to-work-as-bomb-detectors/19411285

Once they're seated in the machine -- called a VASOR (for Volatile Analysis by Specific Olfactory Recognition) -- a fan sucks air past the immobilized bugs' antennae. If they detect a trace of Semtex, for example, the bees will extend their tongues in hunger, breaking beams of light that run in front of their heads and sending a signal to the VASOR operator. That automatic warning system means that anyone can use the gadget after a few hours of basic training. In contrast, learning how to handle a sniffer dog can take many months. And as the gadget contains 36 bees, all individually testing the atmosphere, the VASOR offers greater accuracy than a single explosives hound's nose. "It's almost like having a pack of well-behaved sniffer dogs," Briens says.

Ermie
 

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I have read that they also use wasps in this way. Only difference is that the wasps are kept in use for a couple of weeks, and are tossed out when they die.

Nice video btw.

Edit: If I remember correctly, the wasps were free to move around in a single-use netted box. When they smelled the correct substance, they would congregate at one side of the box. The device in the article seems to be the high-tech version.
 

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"Necessity is the mother of invention." -Plato

Probably one of the very few, if not the only good thing to come from conflicts and wars.
 

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Can't see the video now as I am, ... ahem.... , working, but this past weekend I heard a talk by Jennifer Berry, a bee researcher at the University of Georgia. She was speaking at the Maine Beekeepers annual meeting and conference. In her research into the effects of various chemicals on bees, one of the objectives was to investigate how the chemicals may affect the bees memory. To teach a specific behavior to measure, they blew a specific scent past the bee and then offered it syrup. Like Pavlov's dog, the bee smelled the scent and stuck out its tongue to take in syrup.

As she described it, the objective was abandoned because the bees only seemed to cooperate if and when they felt like it.

Wayne
 

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I have read that they also use wasps in this way. Only difference is that the wasps are kept in use for a couple of weeks, and are tossed out when they die.

Nice video btw.

Edit: If I remember correctly, the wasps were free to move around in a single-use netted box. When they smelled the correct substance, they would congregate at one side of the box. The device in the article seems to be the high-tech version.
IIRC, the wasps could be re-trained to a new scent quickly and easily also.
 

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This is grand, marvelous....! A neighbor brought a copy of this over this afternoon and I was thrilled. Of course there is some more thinking to be done but anything in the direction of bringing humanity back to their senses and then doing it with our beloved insects, it just could not be better. Lets keep our fingers crossed that it all will go into a sensible directions. I've got some Bourbon next to me right now, so cheers.....! Take care and have fun.
 
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