Wasps can do a dog’s job of finding bombs

Published: December 5, 2005 | 2923rd good news item since 2003

Trained wasps could someday replace dogs for sniffing out drugs, bombs and bodies.

Scientists say a species of non-stinging wasps can be trained in only five minutes and are just as sensitive to odors as man’s best friend, which can require up to six months of training at a cost of about $15,000 per dog.

With the use of a handheld device that contains the wasps but allows them to do their work, researchers have been able to use the insects to detect target odors such as a toxin that grows on corn and peanuts, and a chemical used in certain explosives.

“There’s need for a flexible and mobile chemical detector,” said US Department of Agriculture entomologist Joe Lewis, who has been studying wasps since 1960s. “Our best devices are very cumbersome, expensive and highly fragile.”

Did you know that… Animals are used as an early warning system for disease outbreaks or bioterrorism threats?

Published in Animals, Science & Technology
See also: timesofindia.indiatimes.com
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