A mad scientist at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, has developed a new technique for finding unexploded land mines: bomb-sniffing bees! Professor Nikola Kezic spends his days training hives of honey bees–whose sense of smell is much more powerful than that of humans– to detect and point out explosives buried in the ground. By combining sources of food with chemical explosives in a confined environment, Kezic conditions the bees to associate the smell of explosives with delicious sustenance. Once released into the wild, the bees make a bee-line (seriously this is too easy) for the land mines expecting to be fed.
The bees can be trained in a matter of days, and Kezic is hoping that they can be used in areas that have already been checked for land mines. Teams will follow the bees with special heat-sensitive cameras. If the bees congregate in an area where no land mine had been discovered earlier, that site will be investigated by the team.
Croatia is believed to have around 250,000 unexploded mines in 380 square miles of countryside, remnants of the Balkan wars of the 1990’s.