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Honey bees a landmine solution?

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  • The idea that honey bees will seek out TNT seems ridiculous; but researcher Nikola Kezic believes he is close to training bees to find landmines. With tens of millions of mines buried around the world, no one is laughing.

It’s ironic that as Croatia prepares for EU membership this summer, other European countries are cursed with unexploded munitions as well — only from more distant wars. From 1914-1918, over 1 billion shells were fired across World War 1 battlefields, and with a dud rate often running as high as 25 percent, the math is deadly — and timeless. Scores of farmers and hundreds of deminers have been killed by shell explosions in the years since. (Fatalities were extremely high in 1991, with 36 French farmers killed.)

(See Harvest of iron still haunts farmers)

The demining squads may be busy in Croatia for hundreds of years to come. In almost 20 years since the fighting ended in Croatia, the AP reports that 316 people have died after stepping on landmines. Kezic believes he’s close to proving that honey bees can provide at least a degree of extra safety. “It is not a problem for a bee to learn the smell of an explosive, which it can then search.”

 

Twitter: @CBennett71

 

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