Heidi and Hans-Jürgen Koch
Conditioning Experiment with Honeybee, 2007

Natural Science Photograph; Nikon D2X, 105mm Macro lens on a bellows; exposure provided from 4 synchronized electronic flashes

Animal Affairs Photography, Freiburg, Germany

This honeybee, Apis mellifera, is licking a drop of a sugary liquid with its outstretched tongue which was placed at the end of a thin stick. The experiment entailed conditioning the bee to recognize certain scents. In the process, the bee was fixed with tape in a tiny harness and then stimulated with a scent. After the bee had been trained to recognize the odor, it would extend its proboscis—a natural response to locating its normal food, nectar. Scientists in the military have learned that honeybees, which naturally possess an acute sense of smell, can be trained to give the same proboscis reflex action when exposed to vapors commonly used in explosives. This research was carried out at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität in Würzburg, Germany.

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