Bees are known to be very organized. They can
communicate to each other where to find nectar through
dance, and they can also follow scents in the air.
Therefore, I propose a specific method to train them to
sniff out drugs,
gas leaks, etc., as well as a way for the bees to
to their handlers the location of the scent.
Due to the
nature of bees, as well explained in the linked
annotation, they are certainly organized and
professional, and only the adults are capable of doing
Take a hive of bees and put it in the vicinity of the scent
you want to train for. First, put the scent and some
flowers at the same location near the hive, so that the
bees get exposed to the scent, and initially associate it
nectar. When they do their waggle dance, reward them
with a sweet smell (though ideally one they won't
any flowers) or some extra nectar* when they dance to
indicate the location of the target scent.
Gradually separate the target scent and the flowers,
while rewarding them for continuing to communicate the
location (but make sure they don't stop communicating
the flowers' locations too, so they don't starve). Once
established, start training them to differentiate the
target scent from flowers by something in the waggle
by giving off different pheromones (which they might do
naturally, come to think of it), or with a variation of the
Once they reliably do that, they're ready. Keep them like
you'd keep any other beeslet them forage for nectar in
normal way, etc.but maybe keep up the training once
in a while so they don't forget. When you get a call to
the source of whatever scent you've trained your bees
for, just transport the hive to the area in the normal
(which I assume involves smoking it, closing it, carrying
it, and opening it) and let your bees fly around; they will
the location of the source of their trained scent with
their dance. Collect payment from client.
*Or, in advance, train them to associate a certain
stimulus such as a sound with e.g. a nectar treat, and
then use that
stimulus as the reward in the scent-finding training.