‘Promising’ trial creating a great buzz
The types of mines the bees are being trained to detect are Yugoslavian PMA-2 and PMA-3 mines, and some Russian/ Soviet mines.
Honeybees have a bigger advantage over sniffer dogs when it comes to finding explosives as dogs only work for 15 minutes at a time. Dogs, which are more expensive to train, see it as a “game” and quickly get bored.
Bees will work tirelessly and are not affected by the chemical compounds found in explosives, unlike dogs. They can get to areas that are more difficult to get to than dogs.
The bees do have drawbacks, however. Rain and darkness will normally deter the bees from going out on their lifesaving missions.
Precise details of the tests are being kept under wraps for now but Dr Gillander said the use of bees looked “promising”.
The academic revealed there had so far been just one casualty from the testing – PhD student James Glackin, who was strung three times while driving 6,000 bees to the test site.
There are an estimated 110 million land mines lost across the world which kill or injure between 15,000 to 20,000 people annually.