Scientists know that bees are very intelligent and very intuitive. They also have an unusually keen sense of smell.
Right now in the Netherlands, they're putting that power to the test by training bees as live COVID-19 testers.
Scientists at Wageningen University harnessed the bees and used a sugary reward to get real-time COVID testing results.
"We present coronavirus positive and coronavirus negative samples," says Wim Van Der Pol, a professor at Wageningen University. "After presenting a positive sample, we always present sugar water afterwards. So in the end, the bees extend their proboscis after being presented a coronavirus positive sample and in that way we can train bees pretty quickly."
Scientists say it can take hours or days to get a COVID-19 test result, but the response from the bees is immediate.
While they don't see this technique replacing more conventional forms of COVID-19 testing, it could be useful for countries where tests are scarce.
They're still working to determine the true effectiveness, and of course say they'd rather see bees being bees.