Scientists are slaughtering radio-tracked hornets to save the bees


Bees and other pollinators are pretty important to, you know, life as we know it. Unfortunately, things aren’t always rosy for our buzzing friends. Aside from habitat loss, parasites, and pesticides, they also have to deal with a burgeoning population of bee-eating Asian hornets. But humanity might’ve found a solution: radio-tracking.

In a world first, scientists from the University of Exeter have attached tiny little tracking tags to Asian hornets, allowing them to follow the creatures back to their hives and, uh, mercilessly crush them.

The technology was tested in the south of France and Jersey, where there are already established Asian hornet colonies. The trial was successful as they found five undiscovered nests. Experts are hoping that this technique will prevent a large scale outbreak of the insects in the UK.

In order to attach the radio tags to the hornets, scientists used the smallest trackers available, which were made by Biotrack. They then used sewing thread to attach the technology to the Asian hornets, which were able to carry the tags as long as they weighed less than 80 percent of their own bodyweight. When you think about it, being able to carry 80 percent of your own weight around is pretty hardcore.