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RFID-based Bee Tracking Gives Scientists a New Window into Natural World
Scientists around the world have been studying the habits of bees for years. Since bees are responsible for pollinating much of the food we eat, understanding their behavior is critical.
With the advent of RFID, the work of researchers got a bit easier. Some teams of scientists are gluing tiny RFID tags to the backs of insects to monitor their movements in and out of hives and see where they travel away from the hive.
Readers placed near hives or in flowers record the movements of different bees. The insights show researchers what plants bees rely on and can be crucial to conservation efforts. The results of bee tracking can also be used to better understand how bees calculate the optimal route between flowers and the hive.
In a different take on bee tagging, one company in North America has developed a security system for tracking entire hives of bees, a target for some thieves given their high cost. RFID tags and readers are embedded in the hives.
If the hives are moved, the readers send a message to beekeepers’ phones so they can take action immediately.
Whether it is for scientific reasons or for simple theft prevention, RFID helps ensure that bees will continue to fly back and forth from flowers and return safely to their nest.
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