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Last Updated: Wednesday December 06 2006 16:35 GMT

Bees trained to sniff out bombs


We're used to the idea of dogs using their noses to find things like drugs and bombs, but the latest smart sniffer is the honey bee!

Scientists have known for a long time that bees have a great sense of smell, and now they've figured out how to get them to work for us.

Bees in the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project have been taught to stick their tongues out when they sniff explosives.

The US-based team hopes the buzzing beasties will help keep us safe.

Sweet treats

The bees are kept in jars, with their heads sticking out so they can smell anything dangerous.

The team have made the most of the fact that bees automatically stick their tongues out when they think they're about to get some nectar.

Every time a bee identified an explosive, they were given nectar.

After a while, the smell of explosives made them expect to get a nectar treat - so they stuck out their tongues.

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