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Monday, September 24, 2007

Bees - not just for honey anymore 

Did you know that honeybees can be trained to sniff out explosives? It's true. In a study published last year, Los Alamos National Laboratory has proven that honeybees can be trained to find explosives. Apparently bees have a better sense of smell than dogs and have successfully smelled explosures in thousands of trials. The Department of Defense does not plan to use the bees for military purposes, but the study's leader, Timothy Haarmann, thinks it might make sense for other uses such as at airports or borders.

On another bee-related note, the honeybee population has been dropping significantly. Roughly 50% of hives have disappeared, and scientists are beginning to hone in on the culprit. They now believe it is a combination of a virus and a parasite. Losing huge numbers of honeybees could have a disastrous impact since they pollinate so many of our crops.

Finally, is it honeybee or honey bee? Either is correct. Entomologists use it as two words, most folks show it as one. For more honeybee information, visit the Backyard Beekeepers site. Happy Gardening.

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Thanks to Andrew Stenning who contributed the photograph for our masthead

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