CSIRO's Professor Paulo de Souza compares the bee backpack to an airplane's "black box flight recorder." He says the system can help them monitor and analyze "the effects of stress factors including disease, pesticides, air pollution, water contamination, diet and extreme weather on the movements of bees and their ability to pollinate." Since bees are pretty predictable, a device that can track their movements could lead researchers to identify what stressor makes them act weirdly and ultimately cause their death.
Wild bee colonies around the world are dying at an alarming rate. Since they're responsible for pollinating around 33 percent of our food sources, vegetable and fruit prices could go through the roof without their help. Australia's the ideal place to look at CCD more closely, since the country's bees aren't affected by a parasite called the Varroa mite yet, which has already killed numerous colonies elsewhere. While Australia's population will serve as a good control due to the absence of Varroa mites, researchers from Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand and the UK have joined CSIRO's Global Initiative for Honey bee Health in the past few months. The scientists plan to release their findings sometime next year and will share it with the global scientific community, because honey bee deaths affect everyone on Earth.
Update: Corrected the story to clarify that the bee backpacks are RFID tags that connect to a small Intel Edison-based system. [Thanks, Daniel!]