Hexbyte Tech News Wired Bees Are Dying Off. Tiny QR Code Backpacks May Help Save Them

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Science hasn’t been giving us a tremendous amount of good news these days. We’re speeding toward climate catastrophe, for one. We’ve screwed up the environment so badly, it’s hard to even call it an environment anymore. And that’s coming back to bite (or sting) us: Bee populations, which we rely on to pollinate our crops, are plummeting.

But science is also coming to the rescue, by gluing QR codes to bumblebees’ backs and tracking their movements with a robotic camera. Researchers have created a system that tracks individual bees as well as the dynamics of whole colonies exposed to imidacloprid, a neurotoxin that belongs to the infamous neonicotinoid group of pesticides. The findings aren’t pretty, but they may go a long way in teasing apart how neonicotinoids are ravaging bees, and how we might save these fliers.

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