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Labrador Retriever takes care of bees in beekeeper suit

Dogart_thumb By Ellen | July 05, 2013 | Comments (1)

a dog has been trained to look after bees
Bazz is a specially-trained beekeeper. Photo: Josh Kennett

A Labrador Retriever named Bazz is assisting a beekeeper in South Australia keeping beehives and bees healthy.

Josh Kennett keeps beekhives in Tintinara and wanted an effective way to control American foulbrood, a bee disease that destroys beehives if they are not quarantined.

In the United States, apiary dogs successfully sniff out the disease. But Josh had an unusual challenge that his US counterparts do not. He had to figure out a way to protect Bazz from being stung, so he developed a unique suit for his dog.

Josh explained to Australian Broadcasting Corporation, why in the US, such suits for their dogs are not necessary. "Their winters are far colder than ours, with snow over the top of beehives," he said. "We don't have that situation here in South Australia. So I've tried to develop a suit the dog can wear and hopefully avoid being stung."

Josh said it was a long process to develop the suit, but he finally got a working prototype and has been getting Bazz used to wearing it. Josh said he's proven the concept and Bazz can find the infected hives wearing his protective, one-of-a-kind suit.

Listen to Josh's interview with ABC Radio here (MP3 file).




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Comments on this Article

Fascinating. I didn't know that dogs were employed in such a way. I'm the first to admit that I don't know much about bee keeping. The first thing I thought when I saw the dog in the suit was that it looked hot. I know that Australia is now in what could be called their winter months. When I saw the dog I thought of hooking up some kind of battery powered fan to the suit to keep it cool. Just a random thought. It made me think that would it not be better to bring the scent to the dog, rather than the dog to the scent? Like I said I don't know much about bee keeping. My idea would be a tube with a fine membrane in it like a hepa filter in the center of the tube. Creat a small suction through the tube when placed in or near the hive. After a period of time take it out for the dog to smell in a safe environment. This would have to be tested with already proven methods, but if it worked it might save you money in the long run. If you're thinking that a pump would be to expensive you could cheaply creat enough suction from the hydrodynamic flow of water through a hose. It would give you the added benefit of being silent. Again like I already said I don't know much about bee keeping!
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