Science News

The Good Cop With a Sting in his Tail

Sat, 22nd Oct 2005

Part of the show Social Insects, Biting Bugs and a Potted History of Honey

Scientists in America have been training 'sniffer wasps' to sniff out explosives, dead bodies and mouldy corn. They trained parasitic wasps, living in a small cup called a 'wasp hound', to respond to certain smells by using a food reward. After a five minute training session, wasps were put into a wasp hound detector and presented with the evidence - potentially mouldy corn. If the wasps became agitated, researchers knew that the wasps had discovered a batch of mouldy corn. Besides fungus, these brightly coloured coppers have also been trained to detect explosives and dead bodies. Maybe in future airports will be hiring sniffer wasps instead of sniffer dogs.

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