For many years, scientists have been trying to determine how honey bees react to illegal drugs. This is important because some of the drugs being sold as herbal remedies can be very harmful to humans. In some parts of the world, where traditional herbal remedies are still used, the use of illegal drugs is widespread. There have also been questions about whether bees get a chemical ‘high’ from the illegal drug use. If this happens, the result could be disastrous for local bee populations.
Researchers have conducted many chemical tests on honey bees and have discovered that they are quite sensitive to the effects of nicotine and other chemicals. In fact, a recent study indicated that bees will not help a foreign flower with a chemical compound found in aspirin. The compound has a strong reaction on bees, and the result was that they refused to pollinate the plant. Scientists are still unsure exactly how this plays out in the hive. They know, however, that the result shows that bees may be affected by the illegal drugs that are being sold to people around the country.
One of the main concerns has been the destruction of the local insect population when drugs are detected. A lot of honey bees die each year from the effects of pesticides. They may be killed through the use of certain insecticides, which are highly toxic to the insects. When bees are exposed to the chemicals during a drug test, they may get very sick. This could disrupt the local honey production, causing bee deaths.
Researchers believe that the way how honey bees are trained to detect illegal drugs is by sensing bad odors. They send out a pheromone signal to other bees, signaling that an odor is bad. The other bees in the hive then smell it and start to fly around the perimeter of the hive, trying to warn others of the bad odor. If a guard bee detects the pheromone and comes within range of the bees, they will start to fly away to safety.
Honey bees are not able to smell all types of chemicals. When the illegal substance goes airborne and gets into the air, it will first go through the hindbrain, or part of the brain that controls scent, before it gets to the olfactory bulb, which is the part of the brain that determines what scents are pleasurable. If the drugs are detected there, the bee will react to it. If there are lots of drugs in the air, the reaction will be stronger and it will take longer for the bees to react. As the reaction starts to wear off, the bees will begin to come back to the hive, bringing with them the gathered honey. This method has been used for quite some time now and is known as the drug detection method.
There is another way how honey bees are trained to detect drugs though. In this method, the farmer puts his hands up into the air and places his hand in a jar with drugs inside. As he walks around the field, the bees gather around his hands. If a guard bee hears the bee’s song, it will fly over and land on the drug and alert the rest of the hive. Then, other workers will start coming down the field to collect the honey.
This is how honey bees are trained to detect drugs. The farmer must place his hands into the jar and hold it upside down, similar to a soda bottle. This way, if a guard bee lands on the substance, the scent will not enter the hive. However, if the substance goes into the hive, it could trigger a ferocious response from the remaining worker bees. The result could be fatal to those who come down the line.
While there may have been an apiarist who came up with this method long ago, most likely it is a combination of several methods. The goal is to keep the honey supply up while reducing the risk of accidental poisoning. And while drug detection is part of that overall strategy, most farmers do not rely exclusively on that method. Many have learned how to use a mixture of chemicals along with hives to make sure drugs are not reaching their orchard by mistake. That is how honey bees are trained to detect illegal drugs. Also Read – LDAR Program for Leak Detection