Croatian officials estimate that since the beginning of the Balkan Wars in 1991, 2,500 people have been killed by landmines.
During the four-year conflict, 90,000 landmines were randomly planted all over the country.
Removing mines is slow and expensive and it is possible to miss some during the process.
Zagreb University has been working on a technique to find unexploded landmines using bees. The honey-making winged insects are trained to find TNT, or trinitrotoluene, a powerful explosive mix.
“The experiment is to condition our bees on the smell of TNT. We put the reward In the centre of this scent. We use a sugar solution as a reward to condition the bees that they can find food just in the middle of the TNT scent,” explained Zagreb University professor Nikola Kezic.
A hive of bees sits at one end, with several feeding points set up around a tent. However, only a few of the feeding points actually contain food, and the soil immediately around them contains explosives.
The idea is that the bees’ keen sense of smell soon associates the smell of explosives with the scent of food.
There would be definite advantages to using bees for detecting landmines, according to Kezic.
“At the moment, they are using standard procedure (for de-mining), but we would like to introduce also bees to check the (mine) field because bees can cover the entire field at once,” said Kezic.
So far, the technique has proved successful, but the problem is in training a colony of thousands of bees. Developers hope to master this, eventually providing a cheap and easily available resource for de-mining teams all over the Balkans.
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 3Caught red-handed: the Russian Major fighting in Ukraine
- 4Video footage shows massive explosion in Tianjin, China
- 5Ukraine puts top Russian general Gerasimov on ‘most wanted’ list
- 6Snowden, Assange and Manning statues unveiled in Berlin
- 7Who came out top in the US Republican television debate?
- 8Latest News Bulletin
- 9Why World Elephant Day matters
- 10International news | euronews, latest international news
- 11UK: at least 7 dead after plane crashes into road in Brighton
- 12Virginia:TV journalist and cameraman shot dead live on air
- 13ISIL militant group claims to have killed Croatian hostage in Egypt
- 14Earth Overshoot Day…Pushing Mother Nature too far
- 15Windows 10, three weeks on: the good, the bad and the ugly
- 16Bringing the trolls out of the dark: Russian ‘troll’ awarded 1 rouble damages
- 17As ‘Daily Show’ Jon Stewart’s tenure ends, scholars say goodbye to their research topic
- 18Momentum for Mars: Astronauts say mission is inevitable
- 19European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 20Scientists find sinkhole cave under Mexico’s Kukulkan Castle Pyramid
latest science news
Momentum for Mars: Astronauts say mission is inevitable
Morocco sets off on 10 year plan to hold back the desert
Retreating ice reveals climate secrets on Qori Kalis glacier
Italy’s army bringing down the cost of getting high on medical marijuana
Powerful MRI scanners could predict diseases