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  • 5/18/2010

3D images peer inside beehives

3d images peer inside beehives

An international team of scientists has developed a new technology to scan live honeybee colonies and peer into them without disturbing the insects.

Swiss Bee Research Centre entomologists and scientists at the University of Bath devised the Diagnostic Radioentomology (DR) technique, which allows researchers to take 3D images of what happens inside beehives.

The team used an imaging technology called X-ray computerized tomography to scan a live beehive and produce a series of colored 3D images.

DR can perform scans every 90 seconds, identify individual bees in the colony and keep track of the queen's movements.

"We can accurately assess the number of bees and where they are at the time of scanning," entomologist Mark Greco told BBC.

Scientists are working to increase the quality of the images and obtain more accurate figures on the bee population and the volumes of pollen, wax and honey in a hive.

They are also producing new computer models to warn them when the amount of pests or pathogens reaches critical levels within a hive.

"Because the method is extremely accurate, we will be looking for critical thresholds of pathogen and parasite loads and loss of food resources from which bee populations can not recover," Greco explained.

"[We will also be investigating] how pathogens such as mites, viruses, bacteria and fungi might interact, both among themselves, and with environmental pressures or stressors, to produce colony declines or collapses."

Scientists hope the new technique can help them understand the reason why the number of other solitary bee species is reducing around the world.

Source: presstv.ir

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