London, March 23 (ANI): Bees could soon replace dog squads meant for smelling explosives and drugs - a group of British companies have come up with a gadget that helps turn groups of bees into reliable sniffers at a time.
The device has been developed by biotech firm Inscentinel in collaboration with ML Electronics and Realise Product Design.
Each group of bees is exposed to a range of odours. The bees are rewarded with syrup when a particular odour is present. After a few hours the insects learn to associate the reward with that odour.
"If a bee smells something it has been trained to detect it sticks its tongue out expecting food," New Scientist quoted Andrew Redman of Realise, as saying.
This Pavlovian reflex can be detected using a beam of infrared light by the bee's head which gets blocked by the insect's tongue.
The trained bees are now placed in an odour detector called a VASOR (Volatile Analysis by Specific Olfactory Recognition), which houses bees in individual compartments.
The training device is currently being tested. (ANI)