Biological Methods (Bees) for Explosive Detection

From 2017 - 2020. HCR-CTRO was the coodinator of the project "Biological method (bees) for Explosive Detection", financed by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme. The partners in the project were: Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Banja Luka (UNIBL), Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences from Zagreb (UNIZG) and the University of St. Andrews (USTAN).

The goal of the project „Biological Methods (Bees) for Explosive Detection“ was to develop innovative methods and technologies for landmine detection through the advancement and integration of current state of the art techniques – honeybees in combination with explosive vapour sensors and advanced imaging techniques. This project aims to develop a innovative approach, using three different techniques: training honeybees for explosive detection, polymer films as an explosive sensor, and honeybees imaging over the landmines will be integrated to provide a flexible, sensitive, and robust technology.

Honeybees are known for their ability to “sniff” a variety of compounds from drugs to pesticides to CBRN materials; explosives have also been shown to be detectable by honeybees. Two main methods were used with the trained honeybee colonies: the passive and the active method. In the passive method, bees are allowed to fly freely around a particular area, and when they return to the hive, the hive environment can be sampled for any explosive materials picked up by the bees. The second, active method, mode involves the trained bees that fly towards a specific odour in a contaminated area. This is achieved by exposing the bees to, for instance, TNT when given syrup. The bees associate the smell of TNT with sugar syrup, and so when released into the field they hover above a landmine. In this project we will use high-definition cameras alongside thermal cameras. By using three drones simultaneously equipped with high-definition cameras, the area can be overlaid for higher reliability. The methods may be applied to the suspected area reduction and to confirm completion of the demining process in internal and external quality control.

This new tools were tested in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, they are low-cost technologies and appropriate for use in many countries around the world.  The major objective of the project is to work with end-users and experts to ensure a high-impact delivery of the project’s results.






Biological Methods (Bees) for Explosive Detection