Insect sleuths not to be sniffed at


If you are chemically sensitive, how would you fancy a pet wasp that you could send our of a morning to test the air for toxins?...

Researchers have discovered that insects are easily trained, using a reward of sugar water. One team in Georgia, working with fly-size, non-stinging, parasitic wasps has found that they can be trained, in as little as five minutes, to detect specific odours.

Five trained wasps are placed inside a tiny chamber the size of two stacked checkers. When they detect the target odour, entering via a tiny hole, they gather around the aperture and thereby trigger an alarm.

The 'Wasp Hound' is already being seen as a cheap and reliable 'biological sensor', capable of sniffing out anything from chemical
warfare agents to corpses. (Source: Washington Post)

Anyone with chemical sensitivities will, of course, be able to think of a number of additional uses for a 'Wasp Hound'!


Click here for more research on chemical sensitivity

First Published in April 2006

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