Bees: Nature's Little Wonders by Candace Savage

By Candace Savage

The bee could have a mind the dimensions of a grass seed, yet in its short, five-week lifestyles it really works as a brood nurse, wax manufacturer, comb builder, honey maker, domestic shield, and floral forager. Bees: Nature's Little Wonders invitations readers to take a brand new examine creatures which are either prevalent and wondrously atypical. It considers the variety and biology of bees, together with their ordinary sociosexual preparations (pity the terrible drone), their quirky relationships with plants, and their startling psychological talents: What are we to make of bugs that speak via symbolic dances? The ebook additionally addresses the mysterious syndrome referred to as colony cave in sickness and identifies possibilities for the conservation of pollinators. Enriched with cultural sidebars and complemented by way of a gorgeous choice of pictures, Bees is a must-read for conservationists, gardeners, and everybody else who cares in regards to the international round them.

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Thus we have found in division of labor [within the hive] a simple method of spreading information,” Lindauer explained in his German-flavored prose. ” Finally, Lindauer had a partial answer to his questions about how the harmony of the hive is achieved: alert individuals act on their own to serve the community. But as satisfying as this conclusion was, it couldn’t explain everything he had observed. There was the time during his surveillance of Bee 107, for example, when he had placed a heat lamp near the hive in which she and her colony lived, thinking to keep them warm, but had mistakenly set it too close for comfort.

Indd 43 5/12/08 1:25:13 PM bees There is nothing particularly remarkable about the life history of worker bees. By far the most populous caste in the colony, they begin life as fertilized, or female, eggs laid in standard-sized cells and, as larvae, are fed by their adult sisters on standard brood-feeding secretions. As a result of this modest upbringing, they develop into nonbreeding adults that are nonetheless fully equipped to care for o¤spring. Meanwhile, on the margins of the comb, a small number of other females are being reared in special capsules and fed a lavish diet of nutrient-rich secretions, or “royal jelly,” a regime that triggers their transformation into queenly egg-layers.

If a male doesn’t make contact, he’ll return to his hive (or to the wrong hive, ninny that he is) u Sealed inside its brood cell by a cap of wax, the honeybee larva on the left has spun a cocoon, from which it will emerge eight or nine days later as a perfect adult, like the one on the right. indd 42 5/12/08 1:25:13 PM bee s at h o me and come out on another day to try his luck again. But if he succeeds in mating, his glory is also his doom. The queen tears away from him with his penis and viscera dangling from her rear, and the spent drone tumbles, dying, out of the air.

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