Did You Know Honey Bees Can Detect COVID-19? I Didn’t Either!


Good morning from the team at Go Raw Honey! While we were busy working on your orders, updating the site for some new summer deals, and adding new varietals to our catalog, we came across this amazing bit of news about honey bees we just had to share.

Did you know that they can actually train honey bees to detect COVID-19 in people and get up to a 95% accuracy rate? Read it for yourself in the Washington Post if you don’t believe it.

Aren’t honey bees awesome? Not only do they tirelessly provide us with healthy, natural raw honey, but they can work a side job as COVID-19 clinicians too!

How Do They Detect COVID-19?

How it seems to work is based on the supreme sense of smell that honey bees have (called their olfactory glands). Researchers expose them to a smell while giving them sugar water.

After a short time, the bees are conditioned to expect the sugar water when the smell is present, so they stick out their little tongues in anticipation.

All the researchers have to do then is expose the bees to the distinct smell COVID-19 produces in samples from people and watch for the bees to stick out their tongues. If the tongues go out, that person probably has COVID. Isn’t that neat?

Imagine the next time you have to get a rapid COVID test before flying somewhere and all you have to do is provide a sample to a bottle of bees next to you to see if they stick out their tongue at you! Sure would be nicer than that excruciatingly painful nose poker they use right now to test. Give me the bees over the nasal swab any day!