Bees communicate among themselves using pheromones. The ability to monitor the bees’ pheromone communication system would enable beekeepers to understand colony activity at a never-before-achieved level. The chemical environment of the hive is complex, perhaps too complex for there to be a pheromone sensor system in the near future. Nevertheless, the bees themselves manage to sense specific pheromones, and proof-of-concept efforts such as Bovinose, which monitors bovine pheromones, and other “artificial nose” research, indicate that the task is achievable.
Artificial nose research
- BOVINOSE: Pheromone-Based Sensor System for Detecting Estrus in Dairy Cows W. Wiegerincka et al, Procedia Computer Science, 2011
- Electronic Nose: Current Status and Future Trends (PDF document) Frank Rock et al, Chemical Reviews, 2008