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Wasps get RFID-chipped

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Author: WildC@rd

Forget supply chains - wasps are the new frontier for RFID. Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have put RFID chips on the wasps' backs to help track their movements and investigate their behaviour. The ZSL attached RFID readers to 33 nests of paper wasps and chips to the bodies of 422 female wasps, to find out why and how often wasps 'drift' from nest to nest. According to the society, the tags were "attached painlessly" to the insects. The RFID readers located on the nests were then used to record how often the wasps entered and left the various locations. Using the track-and-trace technology, the biologists found wasps drifted 31 times more than previously recorded, often to nests which contained their close relatives, where scientists believe they help to raise their relatives' offspring. ZSL scientist and report author Seirian Sumner said of the project: "Drifting behaviour in social insects has always been rather difficult to quantify and a puzzle to explain. The 'mini-Oyster cards' have revealed a new level of understanding into this behaviour."
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