- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Researchers at London’s Kew Royal Botanic Gardens are exploring a unique way to study bumblebees: tiny metal backpack trackers.

Scientists hope that data from the tiny backpacks will yield insight into why bee populations in the United Kingdom are declining. The pollination that the insects provide supplies roughly $300 million per year to the economy, the foundation said on its website.

“This piece of the puzzle, of bee behavior, is absolutely vital if we are to understand better why our bees are struggling and how we can reverse their decline,” said Sarah Barlow, a scientist at Kew Gardens who tested the technology, ABC News reported.

Kew researchers affix the tiny device to the bees after first chilling them to calm them down. They then use tweezers to glue the trackers onto the bees’ backs, ABC reported.

Scientists believe the the trackers, which were developed by Tumbling Dice Ltd., will eventually be modified to study numerous other insects.

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