Our position as a leading provider of portable, temporary refrigeration means that we see many odd uses of our equipment. However, even we were a little surprised to find out that researchers in a number of countries are using refrigeration equipment to cool bees. Yes, bees are being refrigerated by science – for their own good.
It is all related to a joint project being undertaken by a group of technology companies and scientists from Australia, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, and the UK. The research is designed to help figure out why bee populations are being lost around the world. There is plenty of speculation – from climate change to pesticides to parasites – but no one knows for sure. So researchers now plan to track bee movements using tiny RFID transmitters. That's where refrigeration comes in.
It is probably not surprising that your average bee is not interested in being fitted with an RFID chip. To accomplish this, the bee must be held still long enough to apply a drop of super glue to its back followed by the transmitter chip. Some strains of honeybees are more willing to accept this treatment than others are. Nevertheless, some strains, like those found in Brazil, are none too happy with the process. Thus, researchers must put the bees into refrigeration until they are dormant.
Cold temperatures cause the bees to 'fall asleep' long enough for researchers to attach the RFID chips. They are then allowed to return to normal ambient temperatures and set free to do what they do. Researchers will track each subject until its death, collecting and analysing the data over the course of the next several years.
It will be interesting to see if science can figure out a definitive cause of bee population collapse. As for us, we are thrilled to know there is yet another excellent use for portable, temporary refrigeration. Perhaps someday we will have a research department calling and looking for refrigerated trailers or walk-in rooms for the purposes of chilling bees.
We already provide fridge trailer hire and other portable refrigeration options to educational institutions, healthcare facilities, restaurants, caterers, etc. It would be nothing for us to provide a trailer or two to a research facility. That's what we do at Icecool Trailers.
1.Times Gazette – http://www.thetimesgazette.com/scientists-outfitting-honey-bees-with-high-tech-micro-sensors/6632/