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Biosensors 2015, 5(4), 678-711; doi:10.3390/bios5040678

Bees as Biosensors: Chemosensory Ability, Honey Bee Monitoring Systems, and Emergent Sensor Technologies Derived from the Pollinator Syndrome

1
Bee Alert Technology, Inc., 91 Campus Drive, PMB# 2604, Missoula, MT 59801, USA
2
Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
3
Missoula College, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
4
School of Business Administration, University of Montana, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Glen C. Rains
Received: 7 May 2015 / Revised: 9 September 2015 / Accepted: 5 October 2015 / Published: 30 October 2015
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Abstract

This review focuses on critical milestones in the development path for the use of bees, mainly honey bees and bumble bees, as sentinels and biosensors. These keystone species comprise the most abundant pollinators of agro-ecosystems. Pollinating 70%–80% of flowering terrestrial plants, bees and other insects propel the reproduction and survival of plants and themselves, as well as improve the quantity and quality of seeds, nuts, and fruits that feed birds, wildlife, and us. Flowers provide insects with energy, nutrients, and shelter, while pollinators are essential to global ecosystem productivity and stability. A rich and diverse milieu of chemical signals establishes and maintains this intimate partnership. Observations of bee odor search behavior extend back to Aristotle. In the past two decades great strides have been made in methods and instrumentation for the study and exploitation of bee search behavior and for examining intra-organismal chemical communication signals. In particular, bees can be trained to search for and localize sources for a variety of chemicals, which when coupled with emerging tracking and mapping technologies create novel potential for research, as well as bee and crop management. View Full-Text
Keywords: honey bees; biosensors; proboscis extension reflex; scent; bee counters; scale hives; infra-red imaging; LIDAR; RFID honey bees; biosensors; proboscis extension reflex; scent; bee counters; scale hives; infra-red imaging; LIDAR; RFID
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bromenshenk, J.J.; Henderson, C.B.; Seccomb, R.A.; Welch, P.M.; Debnam, S.E.; Firth, D.R. Bees as Biosensors: Chemosensory Ability, Honey Bee Monitoring Systems, and Emergent Sensor Technologies Derived from the Pollinator Syndrome. Biosensors 2015, 5, 678-711.

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