Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scientists Glue Sensors To 5,000 Bees In a Bid To Better Understand Them

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the glue-honey dept.

Science 85

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at the University of Tasmania working with CSIRO have decided to use the latest sensor technology to help them better understand the behavior of thousands of bees. An RFID sensor has been attached with glue to the back of around 5,000 honey bees in Hobart, Tasmania. In order for that to work, shaving the area of the bee where the sensor would sit was necessary in some cases. Thankfully the bee was asleep during the process, and the sensor is small and light enough that they likely won't notice it is there. With the sensors attached, checkpoints can be setup around the area where the bees travel and pollinate in order to create a three-dimensional map of their movements."

cancel ×

85 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sensor vs transmittor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45973859)

"RFID sensor" implies that it could sense RFID signals and not transmit them.

X-Bees (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45973865)

Unfortunately for the researchers one of the bees is named Fox Mulder and is about to reveal the entire operation to the colony.

Re:X-Bees (3, Funny)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 7 months ago | (#45975165)

Though not as catchy as The truth is out there,

The truth is glued to your back will be the talk of the hive.

Re:X-Bees (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 7 months ago | (#45975949)

Shaving the Bee? All of the sudden my coffee doesn't taste right.

Re:X-Bees (3, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 months ago | (#45977715)

Sounds like a great new euphemism for cunnilingus.

Re:X-Bees (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 7 months ago | (#45978507)

"Shaving the bee"

Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Re:X-Bees (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 7 months ago | (#45979857)

> one of the bees is named Fox Mulder and is about to reveal the entire operation to the colony.

The X Flies.

Humans and Aliens, not so different (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45973895)

So I've got a picture in my head of aliens doing this to us, and having this very same conversation about how we probably wouldn't notice. "Oh, hey bob... glad you're back! Gosh darn it, why'd you cut off your pony tail! and what's that thing sticking off the back of your head?"

Re:Humans and Aliens, not so different (3, Insightful)

ohieaux (2860669) | about 7 months ago | (#45974683)

Isn't this the same as some government/business tracking us with our cell phones?

Re:Humans and Aliens, not so different (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 7 months ago | (#45975965)

It's the "Shaving" part I'm nervous about. I think I can handle that myself.

Re:Humans and Aliens, not so different (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 7 months ago | (#45977041)

Not so bad, in my 1970's HS we had hair inspections, if it was touching your collar the teacher marked a line on the back of your neck with a thick felt pen and sent you to the barber.

Re:Humans and Aliens, not so different (2)

Pope (17780) | about 7 months ago | (#45978239)

Ah, the good ol' days when there was so much freedom around.

Won't somebody.... (4, Funny)

amalcolm (1838434) | about 7 months ago | (#45973899)

...think of the bees?

Re:Won't somebody.... (1)

SacredNaCl (545593) | about 7 months ago | (#45974389)

...think of the bees?

Meh.. I clicked the wrong setting moderating. Only way to undo it was to post! I thought AC's post was funny!

Re:Won't somebody.... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#45977663)

Uh, everybody reading this is thinking of bees! And you do know why they're tracking them, don't you?

The Understanding (4, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 months ago | (#45973903)

It turns out, bees sting people.

Luckily the scientists now have enough data points to be pretty sure that is true.

Incidentally, they also prefer Aqua Velva as an aftershave, an unexpected finding as the scientists were sure they would prefer Burt's Bees.

Re:The Understanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974423)

Who cares about the bees, from the headline it is pretty clear that the intention was to better understand the sensors.

Re:The Understanding (4, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | about 7 months ago | (#45974671)

All I know is, some grad student now has the "No, my PhD is the worst" story to beat them all.

Re:The Understanding (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 7 months ago | (#45976001)

Someone should contact the Ig Nobel Committee about this important work.

Re:The Understanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974673)

You laugh, but these are not to understand bees... This is to help produce algorithms for MMO Aerial Assault Drones to attack in swirling swarms of death. I guess the fluid dynamics of all that moving air is somewhat difficult to figure out, unless quad rotors are out and bees are the new drone.

Re:The Understanding (3, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | about 7 months ago | (#45975809)

...In conclusion it was found to be statistically significant that bees indeed do not like to have sensors stuck to them.

This paper is dedicated to poor Jimmy Berton, a grad student who gave his life to further this important revelation. He will be missed.

Street View (2)

ketomax (2859503) | about 7 months ago | (#45973911)

in order to create a three-dimensional map of their movements

More energy efficient (and anonymous) way for Google to build maps for street view?

In other news, colony collapse disorder... (2, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about 7 months ago | (#45973941)

In other news, colony collapse disorder... caused by glue.

Re:In other news, colony collapse disorder... (1)

nicoleb_x (1571029) | about 7 months ago | (#45975241)

I sure hope they run the test with different types of glue. Too many variables to trust the results.

Re:In other news, colony collapse disorder... (1)

AioKits (1235070) | about 7 months ago | (#45976289)

In other news, colony collapse disorder... caused by glue.

Then we need to start a campaign to inform young bees about the dangers of sniffing glue.

o.o7 (4, Insightful)

Edis Krad (1003934) | about 7 months ago | (#45974007)

A solemn salute to those postgrads that had to stay overnight to glue those 5000 sensors to those bees. I feel your pain, my fellow comrades.

Re:o.o7 (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 7 months ago | (#45974985)

I think almost all the serious scientific work in the academia is done by the graduate students working at below minimum wage (once you factor in all the working hours). I was one of the PIGS, and am proud of it.

PIGS = Poor Indian Graduate Students.

Re:o.o7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45975099)

The state school I went to for grad school a couple years ago paid $20-23k stipends, and if you factored in the $4k per semester of tuition, you would have to be working consistently about 80 hour work weeks to get below minimum wage. It seemed consistent in the physical sciences and engineering from who I talked to, but I don't know what the rates for life sciences were, and outside of science and engineering it was a different story.

Re:o.o7 (1)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#45979477)

$20,000/year comes out to $10/hour assuming 40 hour work weeks, and damn few grad students put in 8 hour days.

Re:o.o7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45985213)

You missed the second half of that sentence, that if you factor in that tuition is covered as part of the stipend (it is supposed to be income for tax purposes, but most grad students ignore this...), you get something more like $28k, which is more like 13.50 for a 40 hour week, or minimum wage 7.25 for a 74 hour week. And while I've been there myself and seen other grad students complain of long weeks that sometimes reach over 80 hours, I wouldn't say the majority do so consistently.

Most of that is moot though, as the stipends for grad school are usually on the basis that you spend half your time working and half your time taking classes or doing thesis work. If you end up with a TA position, it is limited to 20 hours a week of work. If an RA position has you working more than 20 hours a week doing grunt work that doesn't contribute to a thesis, especially after the first year or two, then you got screwed and that is far from the norm.

Re:o.o7 (1)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#45987221)

Didn't realize tuition was included, thought it was an additional expense. As you can guess, I've never been to grad school.

Multiple causes (0)

DeadDecoy (877617) | about 7 months ago | (#45974047)

I wonder if the sensors themselves interfere with the bees.

Re:Multiple causes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974341)

You should contact them straight away, just in case that thought never crossed their mind!

mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974071)

Imagine going to work tomorrow and finding everyone has a small blinking box glued to their head :)

Re:mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974191)

Well, ive already noticed a lot of people having a blinking box attached to their hand at all times, it also seems to more or less control their life... they however call them phones and tablets...

Free speech (5, Funny)

Buchenskjoll (762354) | about 7 months ago | (#45974095)

I believe in free speech, I would rather glue 5000 bees to a censor.

Re:Free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974179)

I believe in free speech, I would rather glue 5000 bees to a censor.

Yes, but how would you shave the sensor?

Re:Free speech (2)

JustOK (667959) | about 7 months ago | (#45974281)

With a rusty hammer

Hopefully it's a different sensor (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974115)

As long as its one sensor per bee. I'd hate for them all to be glued together, no doubt forming mecha-bee-zilla capable of laying waste to entire towns. It's only at this point that people would realise that florists are our last line of defence.

Re:Hopefully it's a different sensor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974149)

Florists are traitors to the human race, creating small safe havens in our cities for them to conspire against us in!

Ode to the Bee Rangler (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 7 months ago | (#45974217)

How doth we study the little busy bee
Wearing sensors each shining hour,
To gather honey all the day
From every shining flower?
Burma Shave

[Apologies to Isaac Watts.]

Re:Ode to the Bee Rangler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45976309)

Dang, out of mod points. Bravo!

"To the Beemobile!" (3, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#45974325)

"You mean your Chevy?"

"...yes."

Also, beekeepers like their women the way they like their coffee. Covered in bees.

Finally, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974377)

Now we can finally learn the secrets of the Japanese Killer Wasps and tame them for use against meddling spies. Get to it, my little interns!

Oblig. (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 7 months ago | (#45975447)

A nice tall glass of NOPE. [fbcdn.net]

If this method works... (4, Funny)

shikaisi (1816846) | about 7 months ago | (#45974427)

... how many sensors will I have to glue to women in order to better understand them?

Re:If this method works... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974609)

I hate to break it to you sonny but there won't ever be enough sensors for you to understand women.

Re:If this method works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974657)

I hate to break it to you sonny but there won't ever be enough sensors for you to understand women.

Since women are the spawns of Satan, albeit God thought he created woman from the rib of a man, nobody, including Satan, will ever understand women. Why do you think Satan hooked up with Saddam Hussein in Hell for a homosexual relationship as revealed by South Park?

Re:If this method works... (3, Funny)

Shavano (2541114) | about 7 months ago | (#45975263)

They're called iPhones and research is already underway.

Re:If this method works... (4, Funny)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 7 months ago | (#45975907)

You're assuming Logic can be used to understand Emotion Yeah, good luck with that !

Men tend to focus on the goal. Get in, get out, move on.
Women tend to focus on the journey. Take their time enjoying the experience.

Why do some women love to shop for hours on end for new shoes*. Who the fuck knows -- but it must feel relaxing / good to them otherwise they wouldn't do it ...

* Replace shoes with clothes, etc. Doesn't matter.

Another way to view it:

Men want Space
Women need Time

A man needs a man-cave so he can get away** and just putz around with his hobbies.
A woman want you to spend time with them doing pointless shit like shopping for hours on end, gardening for hours, etc, or whatever her hobby is. She just wants you to spend time with her. Yes, we know you could optimize shopping via in--n-out-bam in 5 minutes. She doesn't care and thinks you're missing the point (journey). You think she's missing point (goal). Two diametrically opposed unspoken goals which usually ends up in an argument. Expectations are completely out of sync.

** Old engineer joke

An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress. The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship. The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.

The engineer said, "I like both."

"Both?" they asked.

Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done."

Re:If this method works... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#45979421)

You failed when you thought those differences were gender based.

"Men tend to focus on the goal. Get in, get out, move on."
as do women.
"Women tend to focus on the journey."
as do men.

IT depends. revers the situation. Women has to go into a shop that supports a hobby she doesn't like? Goal. Put a man in that same shop, and it's all about looking at everything.

"Why do some women love to shop for hours on end for new shoes"
Why do some women love to shop for hours on end for new tools

"Men want Space
Women need Time"
both want both.

"A man needs a man-cave so he can get away** and just putz around with his hobbies."
Yeah, here is no such thing as a sewing room, or a scrap booking room,. People with hobbies want a room to do said hobbies, regardless of gender.

The 60's called, and they want their stupidity back.

Jeez, read up.

And yes, we will get to a point where we can logically understand emotion.

Re:If this method works... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45977151)

The hard part is shaving them while they're asleep.

Re: If this method works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45979233)

That's what chloroform is for.

Oy! (3, Funny)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 7 months ago | (#45974501)

What is it you do again son?

Well, last night I had to work late; I was shaving bees ...

Oy, my son shaving bees! What your father would say!

Re:Oy! (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#45974519)

We're using these new tungsten carbide bee razors...

Don't inform the NSA... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974943)

...they'll want to use bees for sting operations...

Re:Don't inform the NSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45976787)

(Score: 1, Meh)

Now I understand why I saw all those bees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45974975)

...wearing a foil hat.

Oh Noes!!! (1)

nightsky30 (3348843) | about 7 months ago | (#45975049)

The X-Files movie is coming true!!! Bee-ware the corn!!!!!!!!!!

How long does it take? (3, Insightful)

sabbede (2678435) | about 7 months ago | (#45975151)

..to glue tags onto 5000 bees? Workers only live for a few weeks, so unless they have a LOT of bee-gluers hard at work won't their tagged bees start dying before they finish?

Re:How long does it take? (3, Funny)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 7 months ago | (#45976925)

No matter what, someone is going to be literally and figuratively "busy as a bee."

Re:How long does it take? (1)

sabbede (2678435) | about 7 months ago | (#46034399)

Uuugh.

That was brutal...

Re:How long does it take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45979025)

Something of squash to get an RFID sensor measuring 2.5mm2 glued the back of around 5,000 honey. Maybe one on the front of the sensor and one on the back of it, but 5000?

Bees Spend Most of their Time Grooming (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 7 months ago | (#45975277)

^^^^ next headline

Surprisingly, bees spend more time scraping one another's backs and huffing than they do searching for and preserving food.

Re:Bees Spend Most of their Time Grooming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45975781)

An RFID sensor has been attached with glue to the back of around 5,000 honey bees in Hobart, Tasmania.

Surprisingly, bees spend more time scraping one another's backs and huffing than they do searching for and preserving food.

It's as if the bees knew.

(captcha: joined)

Prestige Worldwide (1)

bmxeroh (1694004) | about 7 months ago | (#45975339)

Last week, we put liquid paper on a bee...And it died.

Tornado (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 7 months ago | (#45975751)

Attach sensors and then launch them into Tornado like in Twister.

Re:Tornado (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 7 months ago | (#45975993)

Are your RFID receivers also launched into the tornado? And if so, why not just use small light objects that are not living?

Think man!

Re:Tornado (1)

Triklyn (2455072) | about 7 months ago | (#45978371)

because, small light objects can't dodge, they don't have the will to live that would make a tornado-sensing bee cluster bomb the best thing evs.

robot needed ASAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45975797)

Come on guys ( and the occasional lady), Where is the robotic version of the bee shaver and rfid glueing machine?? That's a much better use of post graduate talent. The eco-nazi's in Europe and the almond farmers in the US will pay millions for it.

The other aspect is to use the tags and watch the bees dance... that would need tags that are visually readable

That RFID tag is surprisingly large. I have seen "grain of rice" size tags used on fish.

This is cool! (1)

kreuzotter (13645) | about 7 months ago | (#45976021)

I would absolutely love to be part of that. Colony Collapse Disorder is investigated for a long time and is still not understood. What happens is that you have a healthy bee yard with many hives full of bees (50000 each hive) and you come back a week later and they are gone, except for the queens and a few workers. What happened? They did not leave voluntarily, not without the queen. There are no dead bees in front of the hive, like you would have with pesticide poisoning. There is not one virus or disease common to those cases.
One possible cause could be the new pesticides called neonicotinoids, which act like a nerve agent. The claim is that the bees fly off to forage and cant remember how to get back home. But this is only a guess, and this experiment could give some insight. Do the bees fly around aimlessly?
Should we ban neonicotinoids? neonicotinoids are not sprayed but seeds are soaked in it. The whole plant will then be poisoned, but the poison is limited to the crop. One needs a lot less poison that with traditional pesticides. So this is an important question with huge commercial consequences.

P.S. Beekeeping is absolutely fascinating and addictive. The more I learn the more there is to lean. Call you local beekeeper's club to learn more.

A growing problem (2)

Rival (14861) | about 7 months ago | (#45976417)

Scientists Glue Sensors To 5,000 Bees In a Bid To Better Understand Them

See, this is why we need better documentation. I'm not sure why the scientists thought the bees would help (perhaps division of labor/hive mind or something?) but really, if the OEMs had made proper documentation for the sensors easily available, none of this would have been necessary.

What We'll Learn (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about 7 months ago | (#45976481)

Bees hate having sensors on their backs.

Some people are saying Bayer is killing the bees (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#45976823)

So I'll just leave this link [sumofus.org] here in case someone wants to read about it.

Re:Some people are saying Bayer is killing the bee (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#45979439)

Some people are saying everything is killing bees, and it's been nonsense.

Thank god for grad student (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45977201)

Boy I wouldn't want the task of shaving and applying sensors to 5,000 bees. Thank god for grad students.

Somewhere (2)

Dripdry (1062282) | about 7 months ago | (#45977487)

Somewhere there's at least one person with "Bee Shaver" on their CV.
"We have a dire emergency, and we hear you're the best. There's a rare species of wasp invading the U.S. and we need to tag'em before we can bag'em."
"Just tell me one thing: Where are the tweezers?"

missing obligs (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 7 months ago | (#45977553)

In Soviet Russia, bees attach sensors to YOU.

It's so not-funny I can't believe nobody posted it yet.

Imagine Natalie Portman covered in hot bees with sensors...

Re:missing obligs (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 7 months ago | (#45981163)

Just cover her with honey and you'd have a fight between the bees and the men who want to lick it off her body.

Let it bee (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 7 months ago | (#45977567)

Let it bee

Results in (1)

PPH (736903) | about 7 months ago | (#45977919)

Bees participating earlier in this study received lower numbered UIDs than later bees. Bees with greater karma and more points to spend modded down less popular bees. Divisions between bee populations and resulting flame wars erupted throughout the hive.

Did anyone misread that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45978231)

I read that as
Scientists Glue Sensors To 5,000 BEERS In a Bid To Better Understand Them.

Do they needs some help with that?

Hah... (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | about 7 months ago | (#45978309)

I can just imagine the response from the intern who was asked to do this. "You want me to do what? ... Wait, how many?"

Nice job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45979861)

So what do you do for a living?

I shave bees.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>