Radio telemetry used to track honey bees

Photo Credit:  Thangaraj Kumaravel Photo Credit: Thangaraj Kumaravel

Scientists plan to track honeybees using radio telemetry in an effort to better understand and reduce the impacts of colony collapse disorder. In Möggingen, Germany, researchers led by Dr. Martin Wikelski at the Institute for Ornithology are developing transmitters with radar-detection small enough to be carried by pollinators. Tracking honeybees with these transmitters will allow scientists to identify hazard areas where the bees may come in contact with pesticides, viruses, bacteria, and mites linked to their premature deaths. If researchers knew which bees brought the viruses back, they might be able to track the pathogens to their source. “The bees would tell us what they do and what they see out there,” said Dr. Wikelski. “We could use that information to protect them.”