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Researchers worldwide are searching for the causes of the dramatic bee mortality - and thus for the causes of the impending loss of pollination. It is clear so far that pesticides from agriculture, the effects of climate change or parasites such as the Varroa mite are causing great damage to the furry wing insects. The exact connections, why whole bee colonies die off, researchers could not clear so far however clearly.

To better understand how bees respond to their environmental conditions, scientists want to gather data on their movements. For this reason, researchers from the State Research Agency in Australia, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), have equipped winged birds with a microsensor. "These sensors work much like the blackbox of an airplane, " explains Paulo de Souza, scientific director of CSIRO. They record the movements of the animals, which in turn allow conclusions about factors that lead to the worldwide decline in bee colonies. "The tiny technology enables researchers to study the effect of stressors such as diseases, pesticides, air and water pollution, nutrition and extreme weather conditions on bees movements and their pollination performance, " said de Souza.

Photo: CSIRO

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