Scientists equip bees with tiny environmental sensors


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/09/scientists-equip-bees-with-tin.html


#2

You know they’ll just come back with the proof of this, right?


#3

Don’t the bees do enough work for us already? Leave them alone.


#4

Another day, another Black Mirror setup.


#5

How & when was consent given for this procedure?


#6

You may ask yourself, How do bees feel about carrying burdens?

I can’t answer that question, but I am reminded of this passage about bees from Pliny the Elder:

The bees that are employed in carrying look out for a favourable breeze, and if a gale should happen to spring up, they poise themselves in the air with little stones, by way of ballast; some writers, indeed, say that they place them upon their shoulders.

https://archive.org/stream/naturalhistoryof03plin/naturalhistoryof03plin_djvu.txt

I love Pliny. And bees.

Update: removed extraneous space.


#7

Those bees might have some ‘splainin’ to do when they get home.
bear8
“Late again? This better be good!”


#8

“He’s wearing a wire! The fuzz are onto us!”


#9

Cool. Thanks for posting this


#10

I happen to have experimented with wireless insect backpacks, and their antenna and µc solutions were better. This work is pretty cool, although they are logging a millionth as much data (and without any timing information).
The main problem is this has no practical purpose. The attachment to the bee is permanent and would reduce the bees breathing and movement. If the idea is to study bees, then experiments that do permanent damage defeat the point. If you just want temperature and humidity readings from different locations, its a lot cheaper and easier to walk over there and measure it yourself.
Cool engineering (I might adopt some of their stuff), but pointless damage to the bees


#11

black-mirror-in-future


#12

You beat me to it; I love that guy’s work.


#13

Maybe the study addressed this, but I didn’t notice it on a suuuuper quick skim, but I would be concerned about what this might do to any critters that happen to find bees a tasty snack. I know that’s not a long list, but still, if I was a bird, I’m not sure I’d be happy to have that floating around in me.


#14

Has anyone considered weird scientist experiments as a possible cause of Bee Colony Collapse?


#15

If they did this at scale that would be a serious problem. For the study, though, they handmade only a few electronic backpacks and removed them after the bees returned to the colony.


#16

Deja%20Vu%2C%20Groundhog%20Day%20-%20Jack%20O'Neil%2C%20Stargate%20SG-1


#17

From the text with the post, it sounds like it’s not science or how to benefit the bee, but to tell people what the weather’s like where the bees are? Huh?

Most bumblebee colonies are small when compared with the thousands of a honeybee hive, and in North America, they build these colonies from one queen and some eggs every year. Can they spare the efforts of the tagged bees? should they be expected to, if there’s not a good rationale for the study?:


#18

Whoah there, I do believe we have another angle here:

https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2019/january/07/drones-deliver-pollen-better-fruit

Drones deliver pollen, better fruit

Precision pollination shows promise

The Syracuse startup has fielded a fleet of six custom-built hexacopters and worked their magic on apple, cherry, and almond orchards in California and New York with verified success.

It’s a dang weird world right now, and I’m on the side of the bees, thanks. We are in fact beekeepers.

If we’re doing such a bad job managing our environment that we are using drones to do the work of bees, we should be working the problem(s) as if our lives depended on proper resolution, and pushing way harder to eliminate that which is antagonistic to bees immediately (e.g., neonicotinoids, etc.).


#19

“…the battery is wirelessly recharged when the bee returns to the hive.”

Question: When is a bee hive like a laptop?

Answer: When the bee batteries are lithium-ion and the hive bursts into flames.


#20

I’ve always felt all this fucking with animals is just because we can, like collars on cougars and bears. What actual good does it do them? These bee sensors may just give us a micro view of their eventual demise. As Jeremiah Johnson said to the crazy lady, “Won’t help nothin.” If we really wanted to help them we would ban neonicotinoid pesticides, and establish mandated wild zones in every farm field. But we won’t.