When it comes to sniffing out trouble, scientists believe that wasps may be better than dogs. They can be used to ward off intruders, track down criminals, locate bombs and detect toxic chemicals. Wasps have the same sensitive odor detection as dogs and are now being trained to use these skills to sniff out trouble. “The advantage of a wasp over a dog is you can produce them by the thousands. They are real inexpensive, and you can train them in a matter of minutes,” said Joe Lewis, an entomologist at the University of Georgia.
Training is amazingly simple and quick. All you have to do is feed wasps sugar water and at the same time, introduce them to a smell for 10 seconds. Repeat the process two more times and the wasps are ready to go to work. Lewis says, “We can train a wasp within a matter of 10 to 15 minutes.” So far, Lewis has not found anything that wasps cannot be trained to detect. Someday, wasps may even be used to detect deadly diseases like cancer. (Think ahead with me for a moment and imagine seeing a TV commercial for a hospital where they are advertising their “special wasp examinations”. You think people are afraid to go to the doctor now? – just wait until your doctor brings out a jar of wasps at your next check up!