back to article Pest control: Eggheads work to help RoboBees dodge that fly-swatter

Engineers and programmers working on a robot bee project could soon have the faux insects behaving more like real bees, according to engineers and roboticists at Cornell and Harvard. The work is a joint effort between Cornell University engineers and the robot insect wranglers at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically …

  1. Bill M

    Wot about the mice ?

    Recently got a humane mousetrap to get the mouse that decided to overwinter in my kitchen. Got the mouse the first night, but he gnawed a hole in the side and escaped. Can you ask the eggheads to build a humane mouse trap that is mouse gnaw escape proof ?

    1. Alistair

      Re: Wot about the mice ?

      robo-bee would just re-program the mouse with a mini-taser.

      Hell -- that almost sounds plausible.....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wot about the mice ?

      Wrap it in a couple layers of copper mesh, perhaps?

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: Wot about the mice ?

        Mice can chew through copper. Their teeth are hard and sharp. I've had mice gnaw away enough of a Longworth Small Mammal Trap* to escape through! (They're made of ~1mm sheet "aluminium". I have no idea which aluminium alloy is used!)

        *That used to be my house mouse trap of choice, but I'm not sure that I want to spend another 60 quid on infrequent visitors. Maybe I should await the arrival of cheap Chinese robo-mice with bee stinger attachments to discourage future interlopers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wot about the mice ?

          A lot of places sell copper mesh for dealing with mice because it is uncomfortable for them to chew through. They can do it, but are supposedly less likely to do so than through other metals.

    3. handleoclast

      Re: Wot about the mice ?

      You want a better mousetrap? I'd tell you, but I'm a solitary type of person and don't want the world beating a path to my door.

      I just remembered, El Reg don't know where I live. So...

      You'll need a desk or table, a ruler, some cheese, and a round, metal waste bin in good condition.

      Place cheese on end of ruler. Balance ruler + cheese on edge of desk (with cheese on the end that's in mid-air) then move the ruler back a bit from the balance point. Put waste bin under ruler.

      Mouse wanders along, gets on the desk/table. Sees/smells the cheese. Walks along the ruler to get it. Weight of mouse causes ruler to tip, dumping mouse, ruler and cheese in waste bin. If the bin is in good condition the mouse can't climb up the sides, and being circular the mouse can't chew through it. Some people suggest a few inches of water in the bin to make it harder for the mouse to get a purchase if it tries to climb out.

      It ought to work with a round plastic bucket, especially with water at the bottom, but you may not feel it safe enough from a mouse-tooth attack.

    4. Muscleguy

      Re: Wot about the mice ?

      Humane traps are anything but, research has shown that captured mice released outside the home who did not simply make a bee-line back died pretty nasty deaths, they died of cold, of hunger of being predated alive because they were homeless, no holes to disappear down.

      It is thus more human to use a modern trap which dispatches them sharpish. Take it from someone who has dispatched a mountain of mice in my research and made myself get VERY good at it so the mice did not suffer at all: I am very happy with modern traps. Not only do they have little buckets you can put a mixture of nutella and peanut butter in that they can't resist but it is surrounded by a thin plastic platform which is the trigger. With old metal traps you would catch the mouse by the nose too often.

      Also these plastic traps, the only metal is the spring, are so light when they go off they leap into the air. This means the mouse is flung about extra breaking the neck and if the initial shock doesn't kill them that will.

      We caught three last autumn, so far this which is colder, we have not caught nor seen a single one. That is despite the installation of a self built pagoda style bird table in the front garden which results despite raised lip metal trays in some seeds etc falling down.

      So think if the mouse, not your conscience, and dispatch it humanely rather than leaving it to a pretty miserable death.

      BTW the same thing happens to house spiders evicted to the great outdoors. Gardens get split into spider territory after spider territory so the ones who are not predated by other spiders get eaten by birds because they have nowhere to go. When I learned that I refused to remove spiders from the house. I haven't put one in years. We are not in any way overrun by spiders.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wot about the mice ?

        "When I learned that I refused to remove spiders from the house. I haven't put one in years. We are not in any way overrun by spiders."

        I entirely agree but to keep my SO happy I capture the spiders, pretend to put them outside, then return them to their homes when she's not looking. Not only are we not overrun with spiders, we have no fly problem.

    5. W4YBO

      Re: Wot about the mice ?

      Given time, they'll gnaw through the soda bottle, but this has worked well in my shop...


      Danger - Video has typical YouTube music by Roto-Rooter. It'll bore its way into your brain.

  2. ma1010

    Robot bees?

    I can see some benign uses of these, like exploring hard-to-get-at areas, as the author points out. But they would also be subject to misuse as surveillance devices. And I KNOW I'm not the only one here who saw that episode of Black Mirror...

    These things should be carefully regulated.

    1. PeteA

      Re: Robot bees?

      But regulated by whom? Our respective governments with their long histories of respect for peoples' privacy?

    2. macjules

      Re: Robot bees?

      Sod that. When I can start doing #DeathTo David Davies?

    3. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Robot bees?

      For the ultimate in scary surveillance:

      "Other Days, Other Eyes" by Bob Shaw - first printed in 1972 !!

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Beware the rise of the killer bees

    "Give me all your honey"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Beware the rise of the killer bees

      The correct phrase is "Your honey or your life"

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        Re: Beware the rise of the killer bees

        "Oh, beehive!"


  4. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    Must be modelled on worker bees

    Because they are too small to be classed as drones.

    White one with the fancy hood and gloves --->

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    My mousetrap has 4 AA batteries and a tiny inverter. Electrocutes them. Seems pretty humane to me.

  6. ThatOne Silver badge

    The most efficient mousetrap is a Claymore mine.

    Eliminates rodents of all kinds and sizes (up to "unusual").

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      I'm sure those are a myth.

    2. macjules

      Always presuming that the soldier has the mental ability to understand what "Front towards enemy" means. Have met a few that might fail that one.

  7. ThatOne Silver badge

    > Have met a few that might fail that one.

    Isn't it fascinating to see evolution at work?...

  8. CentralCoasty

    In related news.....

    Hasn't been marked anywhere else on "The Reg", but given the reference to Egg-heads.... I noticed that dear old Heinz Wolff has passed.

    Ah - the good old days of the Great Egg Race.... what better role-model could we have for science?

    Apparently he turned up for his 80th birthday party on an scooter powered by fire extinguishers.......

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