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Bomb-detecting bees work for food

U.K. company uses bees to sniff out bombs. And they're happy to do the job, the company says.


Another member joins the anti-terrorism team: working bees.

Bees--or rather, bee tongues--are the olfactory key to the new "Vapor Detection Instrumentation" developed by a company called Inscentinel. The "instrument" detects explosives, cancer, drugs and pretty much anything else that stinks, according to the U.K. company.

Inscentinel uses Pavlovian principles to train the bees, the same way it's done with canines. For every successful sniff of contraband, the little guys are rewarded with food. The bees are taped to the "measurement device," and a camera alerts the operator when they stick their little tongues out in hunger.

So don't be alarmed if you see the yellow and black patrolling the airport. And don't bother calling PETA, because the "bees are happy undertaking their sniffing tasks and are comfortable throughout," Inscentinel claims. "After their working shift the bees are returned to their hive where they happily live out the rest of their lives."