Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows

Harmonic Radar

Harmonic radar has been designed to study the behaviour of low-flying insects over relatively large spatial scales. A transponder weighing just a few milligrams fitted to the thorax picks up the interrogation radar signal and immediately emits a signal at a different frequency which is received by the radar. 

Our pioneering work on orienteering, searching and foraging flights in bumble and honeybees using harmonic radar is well established, however, recently, we have shown that bumblebees can rapidly establish a stable optimal route and develop new efficient routing solutions when the spatial configuration of flowers is changed.