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Bees as Biosensors: Chemosensory Ability, Honey Bee Monitoring Systems, and Emergent Sensor Technologies Derived from the Pollinator Syndrome.

Bromenshenk JJ, Henderson CB, Seccomb RA, Welch PM, Debnam SE, Firth DR - Biosensors (Basel) (2015)

Bottom Line: Observations of bee odor search behavior extend back to Aristotle.In the past two decades great strides have been made in methods and instrumentation for the study and exploitation of bee search behavior and for examining intra-organismal chemical communication signals.In particular, bees can be trained to search for and localize sources for a variety of chemicals, which when coupled with emerging tracking and mapping technologies create novel potential for research, as well as bee and crop management.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Bee Alert Technology, Inc., 91 Campus Drive, PMB# 2604, Missoula, MT 59801, USA. beeresearch@aol.com.

ABSTRACT
This review focuses on critical milestones in the development path for the use of bees, mainly honey bees and bumble bees, as sentinels and biosensors. These keystone species comprise the most abundant pollinators of agro-ecosystems. Pollinating 70%-80% of flowering terrestrial plants, bees and other insects propel the reproduction and survival of plants and themselves, as well as improve the quantity and quality of seeds, nuts, and fruits that feed birds, wildlife, and us. Flowers provide insects with energy, nutrients, and shelter, while pollinators are essential to global ecosystem productivity and stability. A rich and diverse milieu of chemical signals establishes and maintains this intimate partnership. Observations of bee odor search behavior extend back to Aristotle. In the past two decades great strides have been made in methods and instrumentation for the study and exploitation of bee search behavior and for examining intra-organismal chemical communication signals. In particular, bees can be trained to search for and localize sources for a variety of chemicals, which when coupled with emerging tracking and mapping technologies create novel potential for research, as well as bee and crop management.

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Screen captures of bee foraging data from bi-directional bee counters, 1995. The scrollable table and chart show a single colony’s daily forager activity (bee egress in red, bee ingress out blue) over 24 h. The data table can be accessed by tapping the activity plot at any point. A toggle brings up daily summaries for each colony by week.
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biosensors-05-00678-f007: Screen captures of bee foraging data from bi-directional bee counters, 1995. The scrollable table and chart show a single colony’s daily forager activity (bee egress in red, bee ingress out blue) over 24 h. The data table can be accessed by tapping the activity plot at any point. A toggle brings up daily summaries for each colony by week.

Mentions: These hand-built bee-counting units tend to be expensive and not well-suited to everyday colony management, although the cost has been warranted for some critical research and monitoring projects. We have experimented with alternative technologies for IR-based counters including: capacitance-based counters, visual and infrared image subtraction, still and video imagery (DARPA initiated projects, all documented in our Annual Technical Reports, 1999–2002 [82]). We found IR-based counter systems to be more robust and accurate than capacitance and video-based systems, but IR counters require regular cleaning and maintenance. Our counters have a self-diagnostic program that allows the user to check whether all of the emitters and detectors are working and that none of the passageways are blocked by debris or bees. We developed data summary applications for Windows computers in 1995, later adding touch-sensitive tablets and cell phones (Figure 7).


Bees as Biosensors: Chemosensory Ability, Honey Bee Monitoring Systems, and Emergent Sensor Technologies Derived from the Pollinator Syndrome.

Bromenshenk JJ, Henderson CB, Seccomb RA, Welch PM, Debnam SE, Firth DR - Biosensors (Basel) (2015)

Screen captures of bee foraging data from bi-directional bee counters, 1995. The scrollable table and chart show a single colony’s daily forager activity (bee egress in red, bee ingress out blue) over 24 h. The data table can be accessed by tapping the activity plot at any point. A toggle brings up daily summaries for each colony by week.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4697140&req=5

biosensors-05-00678-f007: Screen captures of bee foraging data from bi-directional bee counters, 1995. The scrollable table and chart show a single colony’s daily forager activity (bee egress in red, bee ingress out blue) over 24 h. The data table can be accessed by tapping the activity plot at any point. A toggle brings up daily summaries for each colony by week.
Mentions: These hand-built bee-counting units tend to be expensive and not well-suited to everyday colony management, although the cost has been warranted for some critical research and monitoring projects. We have experimented with alternative technologies for IR-based counters including: capacitance-based counters, visual and infrared image subtraction, still and video imagery (DARPA initiated projects, all documented in our Annual Technical Reports, 1999–2002 [82]). We found IR-based counter systems to be more robust and accurate than capacitance and video-based systems, but IR counters require regular cleaning and maintenance. Our counters have a self-diagnostic program that allows the user to check whether all of the emitters and detectors are working and that none of the passageways are blocked by debris or bees. We developed data summary applications for Windows computers in 1995, later adding touch-sensitive tablets and cell phones (Figure 7).

Bottom Line: Observations of bee odor search behavior extend back to Aristotle.In the past two decades great strides have been made in methods and instrumentation for the study and exploitation of bee search behavior and for examining intra-organismal chemical communication signals.In particular, bees can be trained to search for and localize sources for a variety of chemicals, which when coupled with emerging tracking and mapping technologies create novel potential for research, as well as bee and crop management.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Bee Alert Technology, Inc., 91 Campus Drive, PMB# 2604, Missoula, MT 59801, USA. beeresearch@aol.com.

ABSTRACT
This review focuses on critical milestones in the development path for the use of bees, mainly honey bees and bumble bees, as sentinels and biosensors. These keystone species comprise the most abundant pollinators of agro-ecosystems. Pollinating 70%-80% of flowering terrestrial plants, bees and other insects propel the reproduction and survival of plants and themselves, as well as improve the quantity and quality of seeds, nuts, and fruits that feed birds, wildlife, and us. Flowers provide insects with energy, nutrients, and shelter, while pollinators are essential to global ecosystem productivity and stability. A rich and diverse milieu of chemical signals establishes and maintains this intimate partnership. Observations of bee odor search behavior extend back to Aristotle. In the past two decades great strides have been made in methods and instrumentation for the study and exploitation of bee search behavior and for examining intra-organismal chemical communication signals. In particular, bees can be trained to search for and localize sources for a variety of chemicals, which when coupled with emerging tracking and mapping technologies create novel potential for research, as well as bee and crop management.

Show MeSH