Honeybees trained in Croatia to find land mines
2013-05-23 0:00

By Darko Bandic | Phys.Org


Mirjana Filipovic is still haunted by the land mine blast that killed her boyfriend and blew off her left leg while on a fishing trip nearly a decade ago. It happened in a field that was supposedly de-mined.

Now, unlikely heroes may be coming to the rescue to prevent similar tragedies: sugar-craving honeybees. Croatian researchers are training them to find unexploded mines littering their country and the rest of the Balkans.

When Croatia joins the European Union on July 1, in addition to the beauty of its aquamarine Adriatic sea, deep blue mountain lakes and lush green forests, it will also bring numerous un-cleared minefields to the bloc’s territory. About 750 square kilometers (466 square miles) are still suspected to be filled with mines from the Balkan wars in the 1990s.

Nikola Kezic, an expert on the behavior of honeybees, sat quietly together with a group of young researchers on a recent day in a large net tent filled with the buzzing insects on a grass field lined with acacia trees. The professor at Zagreb University outlined the idea for the experiment: Bees have a perfect sense of smell that can quickly detect the scent of the explosives. They are being trained to identify their food with the scent of TNT.

"Our basic conclusion is that the bees can clearly detect this target, and we are very satisfied," said Kezic, who leads a part of a larger multimillion-euro program, called "Tiramisu," sponsored by the EU to detect land mines on the continent.


Several feeding points were set up on the ground around the tent, but only a few have TNT particles in them. The method of training the bees by authenticating the scent of explosives with the food they eat appears to work: bees gather mainly at the pots containing a sugar solution mixed with TNT, and not the ones that have a different smell.

Kezic said the feeding points containing the TNT traces offer "a sugar solution as a reward, so they can find the food in the middle."

"It is not a problem for a bee to learn the smell of an explosive, which it can then search," Kezic said. "You can train a bee, but training their colony of thousands becomes a problem."


Ante Ivanda, a de-miner, searches for land mines in Petrinja, central Croatia, Friday, May 17, 2013. Croatian researches, working on a unique method to find unexploded mines that are littering their country and the rest of the Balkans, are confident they can use bees for detecting land mines.

Croatian officials estimate that since the beginning of the Balkan wars in 1991, about 2,500 people have died from land mine explosions. During the four-year war, around 90,000 land mines were placed across the entire country, mostly at random and without any plan or existing maps.

Dijana Plestina, the head of the Croatian government’s de-mining bureau, said the suspected devices represent a large obstacle for the country’s population and industry, including agriculture and tourism. In the nearly two decades since the end of the war, land mines have taken the lives of 316 people, including 66 de-miners, she said.

"While this exists, we are living in a kind of terror, at least for the people who are living in areas suspected to have mines," she said. "And of course, that is unacceptable. We will not be a country in peace until this problem is solved."

In 2004, Filipovic and her boyfriend were on a fishing trip that took them to a river between Croatia and Bosnia.

"As we were returning hand-in-hand, my boyfriend stepped on a mine," the 41-year-old Filipovic said. "It was an awful, deafening explosion ... thousands of shrapnel parts went flying, hundreds ending up in my body. He was found dead several meters away, while I remained in a pool of blood sitting on the ground."

She sued the Croatian government, saying the area wasn’t clearly marked as a former minefield.

"At first I thought I was asleep," she recalled. "Then I heard the voice of my father. I opened my eyes, and saw nothing. I thought I lost my eyes."

[...]


Read the full article at: phys.org




Related Articles
Bioelectromagnetics: Bees & Flowers Communicate Using Electrical Fields, Scientists Find
Mystery Malady Kills More Bees - Will We Rebuild With Robots?
Pesticide makes bees forget the scent for food, new study finds
http://redicecreations.com/article.php?id=24397
Can this giant ball rid the world of landmines?
Jesus’ baptism site still surrounded by landmines months before opening
’My rosary saved me’: Young soldier cheats death after standing on landmine and being shot
Croatia is training honeybees to locate landmines


Latest News from our Front Page

ABC Is Hiding Details of Killer Vester Flanagan's Manifesto ...(Must Be Littered With Liberal Propaganda)
2015-08-29 3:45
Killer Vester Flanagan was a big Obama supporter. But, you’d never know it from the liberal media. The media is hiding Flanagan’s political leanings from the American public. ABC has yet to release Flanagan’s manifesto. It must be littered with embarrassing liberal propaganda. The Tatler reported, via Instapundit: Two days ago, ABC News reported that Vester Flanagan, the murderer of two WDBJ employees, sent a 23-page ...
Austria, Libya count dead as number of migrants crossing Mediterranean soars
2015-08-29 1:37
Austria said on Friday 71 refugees including a baby girl were found dead in an abandoned freezer truck, while Libya recovered the bodies of 82 migrants washed ashore after their overcrowded boat sank on its way to Europe and scores more were feared dead. The U.N. refugee agency said the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe ...
Financial Times Calls For Abolishing Cash
2015-08-29 1:07
liminating physical currency necessary to give central banks more power The Financial Times has published an anonymous article which calls for the abolition of cash in order to give central banks and governments more power. Entitled The case for retiring another ‘barbarous relic’, the article laments the fact that people are stockpiling cash in anticipation of another economic collapse, a factor which ...
Serbian government bans anti-mass immigration protests, and plans ahead for mass immigration
2015-08-29 1:52
Nebojsa Stefanovic, Serbia’s Interior Minister said protesters who are concerned about “an EU plan” to settle thousands of illegal immigrants into the country, will not be allowed to voice their concerns in a protest march on Monday, 31st of August. “We will not allow the expression of intolerance and hatred to be something that is characteristic of Serbia” said Stefanovic. “The Ministry ...
Germany asks Facebook to remove 'racist' anti-migrant posts
2015-08-28 20:32
Heiko Maas, Germany's justice minister, says social network should remove xenophobic posts in the same way it deals with nudity Germany is calling on Facebook to remove “xenophobic and racist” anti-migrant posts from its website and apps. Heiko Maas, the German justice minister, has written to the company to demand an urgent review of its policy over hate messages. “Photos of certain ...
More News »