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'Bomb Bees' can sniff out landmines 5 kilometres away


Bees have a sense of smell that rivals any dog, making them perfect for landmine detecting
Bees have a sense of smell that rivals any dog, making them perfect for landmine detecting

Kevan Karanjia, Staff Writer

April 27, 2013 — We've heard of bomb sniffing dogs and more recently mine-finding dolphins, but now scientists in Croatia have bred a specific colony of bees that can sniff out buried landmines.

Mines left over from Croatia's War of Independence still remain scattered across the country
Mines left over from Croatia's War of Independence still remain scattered across the country

The new breed of bee can sniff out landmines buried in the ground up to FIVE KILOMETRES away!

It's taken several years of training for the bees to master the aroma of an explosive. 

Trainers feed colonies a sugary solution mixed with scents of explosive chemicals to get them familiar with the devices. 

Up to 90,000 unexploded landmines are still scattered throughout Croatia, remnants of the country's war of independence. 

Currently minefields cover a large portion of land throughout the Balkans, approximately 683.4 square/km in Croatia alone. 

The bees are trained specially in a tent where feeding stations are located on one specific side. 

Not all feeding points contain food but the soil around ones that do, have traces of explosive chemicals. 

Eventually the insects - whose sense of smell rivals that of a dog - come to associate explosives with food.

While it takes up to five years to train the bees - they are much faster at detecting devices, cheaper to train, and there is no danger to the animal.  

When the bees aren't at work saving lives, they make great honey as well. 

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