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Wasp's Odor Detection Better than Dogs

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  1. BugsInTO

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 30 2009 11:01:54
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    It goes to show that bedbugs are never far from my thoughts.

    I saw this National Geographic special on forensics last night and they demonstrated using conditioned parasitic wasps to do cadaver searches. The entomologist showed that the wasp can be conditioned in 5 mins to detect the smell of a cadaver.

    And I thought - could wasps be trained to detect bedbugs? Could a PCO get up in the morning, pick five wasps from their wasp farm, condition them between 8:00 - 8:30am and then go out and find bedbugs with greater accuracy than a dog and without the months of training?

    What do you think?

  2. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 30 2009 12:03:16
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    Your link isn't working... Try this one

    Interesting article.

    How much do you think the starting salary is for a hornet handler?

  3. BugsInTO

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 30 2009 13:17:11
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    Thanks Doug - I think this is a more direct link to the article.

    It is about money and profitability isn't it? And, from the TV special it looks like it requires two Hornet Handlers - one to point the "Wasp Hound" and the other to monitor the laptop display. (and maybe another to screw in a lightbulb?) so it will take double the pay.

    I was taken by the speed with which the wasps could be trained but they would also have a very short life span. They talk about using them in conjunction with dogs, and that's what struck me about their potential for bedbugs. The wasps are trained to associate food with the cadaver smell, so they aren't prone to false positives. They are monitored by a laptop computer that sees them reacting to the smell of "food" and getting excited.

    I am just wacky enough to think this could work.

  4. cilecto

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 30 2009 22:31:24
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    I like this. Someone posted a while back about military experiments in the 50-60s using unfed BBs to detect human intrusion (they'd start moving about). IIRC, there were problems with bug handling, as well as translating the bugs' movement to a usable alarm.

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
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  5. MyWorstFear

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 30 2009 22:35:50
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    Wasps? Yikes! If the bed bugs didn't bite you, then the wasps would sting you? I'm not a fan of wasps in case you couldn't tell. If this is true then I guess that is the answer I've been looking for with the question "why oh why are there wasps?". Interesting article. Thanks for posting it.

  6. cilecto

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Nov 30 2009 22:37:49
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    MyWorstFear - 1 minute ago  » 
    Wasps? Yikes! If the bed bugs didn't bite you, then the wasps would sting you?.

    According to the article, these wasps don't sting. Would be nice if they could take out the bugs, too.

  7. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Mar 3 2011 1:43:17
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    Update:

    None of the links to the Red and Black posted above work now, so I removed them all.

    Here's a recent article from the NYTimes on the same topic.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  8. DustinBBKiller

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Mar 4 2011 11:01:50
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    Oh the excitement. I wonder what the final cost will be. Although the wasps only live for three weeks, at least you can produce them at "pennies per thousand". I love bees though so my view on this will be a little biased


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