Anti-poaching sniffer bees idea a winner

2012-07-24 11:45

East London - An idea by two school girls to use honey bees to combat rhino poaching won them a young scientist regional competition, according to a report on Tuesday.

Their idea entailed training bees to detect substances like rhino horn, which they hope would help curb poaching, Dispatch Online reported.

Louise Poole and Jamie-Lee Stone are Grade 9 pupils at Kingswood College. The regional Eskom Expo for Young Scientists was held in Grahamstown last Friday. Their project won them a scholarship each for a year's study at Rhodes University.

A handful of bees were trained to detect the smell of kudu horn. A kudu was substituted for rhino as they could not obtain a rhino horn.

The bees learnt to associate the rhino smell with sugar water, said Stone.

"Bees have a powerful sense of smell... they could track a grain of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool," she said.

Stone said they were easier and cheaper to transport to border posts where they could be used to detect smuggled rhino horn.

Stone and Poole will present their project at the National Science Expo in Pretoria in October.

  • trevor.blumberg.1 - 2012-07-24 11:54

    Great Idea but not new ! Americans have been developing this idea for drugs and explosives < not a huge leap to rhino horn !

      klippies.coke.7 - 2012-07-24 11:59

      Sure, shoot it down... did you make the connection to use it for poaching? Nope, you didn't. Well done girls!

      stephen.reeves.908 - 2012-07-24 12:44

      What a chop. Intimidated by these 2 young ladies?

      brett.macdonald1 - 2012-07-24 12:48

      Just out of interest, how exactly does one go about training a bee to recognize a certain item through smell?

      alan.gernet - 2012-07-24 12:54

      @Brett - well the one Bee says to the other Bee .. "You horny honey?"

      Blackpoison - 2012-07-24 12:59

      @trevor So then why didn't you come up with the idea? Seeing that you had the building blocks.

      brett.macdonald1 - 2012-07-24 13:00

      @Alan, I guess that answers it then! ;)

      trevor.blumberg.1 - 2012-07-24 13:25

      If you people read properly < i didnt shoot it down just stated its not an original idea, it was a great idea re-thought

      trevor.blumberg.1 - 2012-07-24 13:33

      @ brett macdonald 1 You introduce the new smell and give the bee sugar water , it takes a matter of a few tries to train them . when the bee smells the scent again it sticks out its Proboscis (toungue) anticipating reward !

      Ansie - 2012-07-24 13:34

      Yes Trevor...they are still in high-school. Where is your great and original idea?

      trevor.blumberg.1 - 2012-07-24 13:37

      It doesen't stop Poaching it just aids in catching people with rhino horn. we supposed to have sniffer dogs @ airports anyway this is just a cheaper way of doing things

      fussed.anderson - 2012-07-24 20:34

      Well I'll bee

      kyle.buitendag - 2012-07-25 07:54 such an idiot.........its grade 9 children, you stupid plonker, and by the way, have the americans got it right yet....NO!

      Matthew - 2012-07-25 09:10

      What the hell is wrong with you people? Trevor shared his thoughts and the fact that this idea has already been taken up on in the states.Go Google. Why is everyone going on like he said He hates them or something =/ Over dramatic responses people.Why not engage him on the same level he's speaking to you. Ok so,the Bee's idea: So how will this work exactly? Hives on the border post buildings? when they swarm a car you know the okes are poachers? or do you patrol up and down with a bee on a mini leash of sorts? (that would be damn funny). Its brilliant that for two highschool girls,they come up with solutions/ways to help take this rhino poaching head on!!! the sad thing though,is that,this comes from our youth (not sad at all) and yet Our government,Our people ,as south africans, have all been made aware to this, that if we dont act quick enough and harsh enough, we will loose the rhino's all together! so the sad thing is,that we dont do anything. These young ladies have sent a loud and strong message.Apply your mind and something can be done!!! so why in the hell isnt the government doing anything more serious? too much polotics i think. Our army does next to nothing apart from sleep overs to fight gangsters/crime in Cape Town. Why send these our troops,to fully deploy at our borders and patrol,looking for these poachers.Our SADF gets paid (tax payers money) to do what? not catch poachers? not step in to help fight crime? WHat on earth is our government doing?!

      trevor.blumberg.1 - 2012-07-25 10:24

      @ Matthew , thanks for a rational statement ! How it works is that the load bees( maybe 10 at a time ) into a device that holds them in place , and a camera looking at the bees when a scent is detected the handler see the bees sticking out their toungues it is a signal that an particular scent has been detected ! But you cant blame people for going mad < its known as mob mentality when a normally rational person as the anonimity of a group or even a computer screen to hide behind it usually brings out the worst in people ! That's why you never get normal logical debates in this forum !

  • merkwaardig.obskuur - 2012-07-24 11:55

    Can the bees discriminate between poached and live rhino horn? What if the bees attack live rhinos and sting them, wiping our the entire SA rhino population. Just wondering...

      klippies.coke.7 - 2012-07-24 11:59

      Uhm...Rhinos are thick skinned....

      richard.t.holman - 2012-07-24 12:27

      @klippies, hahaha, thanks for making my day!

      clinton.badenhorst - 2012-07-24 12:28

      Hahahaha! Merkwaardig inderdaad... Net nie vir die regte redes nie ou vriend. Dink voor jy kommentaar lewer!

      alan.gernet - 2012-07-24 12:46

      hmmm Merkwaardig aint gonna be winning any awards!

      ejanette.joubert - 2012-07-24 16:14

      the bees are trained to DETECT, not ATTACK ... some people have violence on the brain

      Matthew - 2012-07-25 09:12

      Valid question.

      philemon.ndlovu.5 - 2012-07-25 10:05

      @Allen, not quite. He may be winning a Darwin Award.

  • richard.t.holman - 2012-07-24 12:29

    Brilliant, and inexpensive!

  • tammyrohloff1 - 2012-07-24 12:36

    WOW brilliant

  • lauren.myburg - 2012-07-24 12:50

    I say well done girls, you deserve all the recognition for your research. Ignore the negative comments here, they are only made by those who do jack S..T to help anything or anyone except themselves.

  • Kevin.snake - 2012-07-24 12:58


  • lizelle.grobbelaarvanzyl - 2012-07-24 13:57

    That is a great idea well done! Maybe after the bees find the horn, they can be let loose and sting the poachers!

  • janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-07-24 16:02

    Kudos! Keep up with the science, best of luck for University :-)

  • shaun.reece.3 - 2012-07-24 16:13

    They should train 100 million killer bees to detect rhino horn and let them loose throughout Asia, targetting mainly China and Vietnam! No need for police and the justice system to waste resources on this, the bees will punish them for free.

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-07-24 16:28

    Brilliant kids!

  • npretorius2 - 2012-07-24 17:10

    Give that girls a bells, oops I mean scholarship!

  • diep.dinker - 2012-07-24 17:36

    You people are so insensitive and cruel!! What about the poor bees?? did you even know that a bee dies immediately after stinging something. This is so unfair, all living beings should be respected and be given a right to life. You are horrible horrible humans!! So the poor bees must die in order to save the rhino, that is very unfair. These so-called scientist kids should be punished not praised. VIVA greenpeace!!

      Blackpoison - 2012-07-24 19:24

      Are you freakin serious??? Who said the bees are going to sting anything and thereby die?

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-07-24 19:49

      diep.dinker ~ Eish, maar jou kop is bevok né?

      gideon.kruger.3 - 2012-07-24 20:30

      Jy kon nie baie diep gedink het nie!

      iceman196 - 2012-07-25 07:11

      where does the article say the poachers would be stung by the bees, the only stinging the poachers will get is a R4 magazine up there asses

      jacowium - 2012-07-25 09:03

      Tip: your satire skills need an upgrade.

      Matthew - 2012-07-25 09:19

      Silly Hippy =/

      albert.prinsloo.7 - 2012-11-07 22:15

      @diep comment

  • kyle.buitendag - 2012-07-25 07:53

    Fantastic idea........well done the two of you.......

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