Due to global decline of honey bee population, an international research team is leading the Global Initiative for Honeybee Health to counter the problem by equipping the insects with tiny high-tech backpacks.

About 15,000 healthy honey bees in Australia and Brazil have been given these high-tech backpacks, which weigh a mere 5.4 milligrammes, said a Huffington Post report. On Monday, a video was posted in YouTube showed, that these backpacks were actually micro-sensors in action. Radio-frequency technology is imbedded in it, which helps the electronic readers to record the behaviour of individual bees. Once the data is recorded, it is sent to a computer so that researchers can review it. In a press release, Paulo de Souza, a science leader with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, said, "The tiny technology allows researchers to analyze the effects of stress factors including disease, pesticides, air pollution, water contamination, diet and extreme weather on the movements of bees and their ability to pollinate." We’re also investigating what key factors, or combination of factors, lead to bee deaths en masse."

Using pesticides, neonicotinoids in particular are killing the bees. The pesticides are commonly used on corn, canola, soybean and cereal and many fruits and vegetables and have killed about 250 million bees in the recent years. When applied to plants, neonics travel through the vascular system in plants and enter in pollen, roots and nectar that then are transferred to bees and their colonies, as well as several other vulnerable and untargeted species, from earthworms to birds and even bats.

Alternet.org Web site said that these pesticides have resulted in the quick decline of global honey bee population and will soon result in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder, de Souza added. It is when the majority of bees die in a colony or they simply abandon the hive and only the queen remains with the immature bees and honey. Scientists are still to figure out why it happens. Apart from this technology, a well-coordinated international and national effort is needed along with the research protocols to counter the problems faced by honey bees worldwide.

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