In the first study of its kind, scientists from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation are tracking the movements of honey bees by outfitting them with tiny GPS tracking backpacks. Scientists put the bees to sleep in a refrigerator before fitting them with their GPS tracking devices.
CSIRO scientists and engineers have partnered with fruit growers and beekeepers in Tasmania’s Huon Valley where about 5000 bees from four hives will be released.
The study hopes to gain valuable insight on productivity and pollination among bees. Leading CSIRO scientist, Paulo de Souza, said the experiment could lead to a breakthrough understanding of Colony Collapse Disorder currently posing the possibility of extinction of bees in the northern hemisphere.
Although most people think of bees as pesky bugs to avoid, they don’t realize that a large percent of fruits and vegetables grown globally rely on pollination from bees.
Dr. de Souza sees this experiment as the first of many, stating, “Our next generation of transmitters are about one third the size. Next year we want to attach [GPS Trackers} to Queensland fruit flies. They are more challenging.” He also said the year after that his team hopes to have a GPS tracker that will fit a mosquito.