Honey Bees in Manchester Go Online with Tracking Devices

/ 2 years ago

bee bees

Bees are very interesting creatures!

Did you know that the Bee is the symbol of Manchester? No? Well me neither. It is, however, fitting that such research should be conducted there as a hive of honey bees have been fitted with tracking devices.

As you can imagine, this was quite painstaking work. It wasn’t, however, the work of a lone nutter with too much time on their hands.

Scientists in Manchester, in an effort to understand the movement pattern of bees, have applied a micro-transmitter to honey bees within a hive. The purpose of this is to track their movement locally as well as how often they enter and exit the hive. In addition, it will also help them estimate the current population of the hive and any key features which cause a fluctuation in the population reports the BBC.

The tracking devices measure circa 4-5mm and are applied to the bees back using simple super glue. For GPS, it’s an improvement on most of the horror stories you here.


A lot of work, but what will it achieve?

As you may, or may not, be aware, honeybee numbers have dropped alarmingly in recent years. A significant reason for this is the increased use of pesticides in addition to expanding agriculture.

Bees are highly important to the environment. Without bees, polination would be a massive issue. This by proxy would cause several plants species to also significantly decline and perhaps disappear.

Not just that, but no bees means no honey. Without honey what’s Winnie the Pooh going to have for his comfort snack? Piglet?!

At the very least, it highlights just how far GPS tracking technology has come in recent years.

The research is intended to not only track their movement, but also the general ‘health’ of the hive. This will hopefully allow us to better understand what we can do to help protect their species in the future.



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5 Responses to “Honey Bees in Manchester Go Online with Tracking Devices”
  1. Hans Viirlaid says:

    The trackers may only work for a short time since they can change the subject bees’ behavior.
    The bees’ own navigation system can be adversely affected.
    The research done prior to using these devices may not be extensive enough to ensure risk-free use.
    Human hubris blinds us.
    It makes us believe we have a right to intrude on Mother Nature since we rationalize our intervention as being for the bees’ own good.
    But is it for their good or for the good of our egos and for our obtaining the research grants that our ‘scientists’ deem so important to their own survival?

  2. Conundrum says:

    Fascinating. as I am working on a way to increase NFC range that could be applied to this.

    Apparently the biggest issue with bee trackers is that the smaller tags have a short range which is
    where my invention comes in. Anyone interested in funding my research?

    Had some success with simple PG wave shaper but that only got just over double.
    In order to get 2-12 feet range (ie useful) the antenna needs to be augmented with newer materials
    but it has applications for wireless power as well.

  3. Dear,
    I’m a scientist in Brazil working on ecology of insects pests.
    I have read in your website the news called “Honey Bees in Manchester Go Online with Tracking Devices”.
    I’m very interested in this issue because I have studied dispersion of insects in Brazil. So, I would like to ask you, if possible, an e-mail or phone number of someone working on this project in order to contact them.
    Best regards,

    • Chris says:

      I currently race pigeons in wales in the uk and I am currently looking for a device that can log the birds route on a map online any help with a cheap device brought in bulk would be helpfull

      • Mike Sanders says:

        It’s a tricky market since the devices themselves are not cheap and pigeons have the tendency to get lost or detoured mid-flight. I daresay you’re not going to want to climb around city rooftops trying to get your tracker back. I will, however, bear you in mind for anything I come across.

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