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Tag Archives | backyard beekeeper

Bees Buzz Each Other, but Not the Way You Think

by Sid Perkins via news.sciencemag.org

Electric bees? Honey bees may use electrical fields that accumulate on their bodies when they fly or move about to communicate with each other within the hive, a new study suggests.
Credit: Ken Thomas/Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The electric fields that build up on honey bees as they fly, flutter their wings, or rub body parts together may allow the insects to talk to each other, a new study suggests. Tests show that the electric fields, which can be quite strong, deflect the bees’ antennae, which, in turn, provide signals to the brain through specialized organs at their bases.

Scientists have long known that flying insects gain an electrical charge when they buzz around. That charge, typically positive, accumulates as the wings zip through the air—much as electrical charge accumulates on a person shuffling across a carpet. And because an insect’s exoskeleton has a waxy surface that acts as an electrical insulator, that charge isn’t easily dissipated, even when the insect lands on objects, says Randolf Menzel, a neurobiologist at the Free University of Berlin in Germany.

Although researchers have suspected for decades that such electrical fields aid pollination by helping the tiny grains stick to insects visiting a flower, only more recently have they investigated how insects sense and respond to such fields. Just last month, for example, a team reported that bumblebees may use electrical fields to identify flowers recently visited by other insects from those that may still hold lucrative stores of nectar and pollen. A flower that a bee had recently landed on might have an altered electrical field, the researchers speculated.

Now, in a series of lab tests, Menzel and colleagues have studied how honey bees respond to electrical fields. In experiments conducted in small chambers with conductive walls that isolated the bees from external electrical fields, the researchers showed that a small, electrically charged wand brought close to a honey bee can cause its antennae to bend. Other tests, using antennae removed from honey bees, indicated that electrically induced deflections triggered reactions in a group of sensory cells, called the Johnston’s organ, located near the base of the antennae. In yet other experiments, honey bees learned that a sugary reward was available when they detected a particular pattern of electrical field.

Altogether, these tests suggest that the electrical fields that build up on bees due to their flight or movement are stimuli that could be used in social communication, the researchers report online this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The team’s findings “are very significant,” says Fred Dyer, a behavioral biologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “I hadn’t heard about the possibility that honey bees could use electrical fields.”

One of the honey bees’ forms of communication is the “waggle dance.” When the insects have located a dense patch of flowers or a source of water, they skitter across the honeycomb in their hive in a pattern related to the direction of and the distance to the site. Fellow worker bees then take that information and forage accordingly. The biggest mystery about the dance, Dyer says, is which senses the bees use—often in the deep, dark recesses of their hive—to conduct their communication. “People have proposed a variety of methods: direct contact between bees, air currents from the buzzing of their wings, odors, even vibrations transmitted through the honeycomb itself,” he says.

But the team’s new findings introduce yet another mode of communication available to the insects, Dyer says. He notes that the group found that antenna deflections induced by an electrically charged honey bee wing are about 10 times the size of those that would be caused by airflow from the wing fluttering at the same distance—a sign that electrical fields could be an important signal.

“They show that the electrical fields are there and that they’re within the range of what the animal can sense,” Dyer says. “Their claim of evidence is quite compelling.”

Read full story · Posted in Yay Bees

WATCH: Urban Bee Keeping by Green Renaissance

Gardener’s Glory is Cape Town’s urban honey brand. Raw, untreated, unfiltered honey from Southern Suburb gardens.

[via greenrenaissance.co.za]

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PHOTOS: HoneyLove Bee Rescue

At yesterday’s Bee Rescue we had some awesome helpers:
Maggie & Colin Walsh and their son Iggie!

beerescue_032413

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HoneyLove featured on Valley View News

Valley View News
*HoneyLove story begins @ 25:58

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HoneyLove School Outreach at Valmonte Elementary

Valmonte Elementary Valmonte Elementary

Valmonte Elementary

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HoneyLove featured in “Gardening for Geeks” book!

Learn more here: http://gardenerd.com/gardening-for-geeks/index.html

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Legalize Urban Beekeeping in Los Angeles!!

Legalize Urban Beekeeping

The time has come for everyone to rally – LETS DO THIS!!

STEP 1: Click here to SIGN THE PETITION!!

STEP 2: EMAIL a letter of support to LA City Council!! 
(Click above to view a sample email)

Lorax

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HoneyLover of the Month: DENNIS

HLOTM_dennis

Dennis Broderick only has one hive, but don’t let that fool you. He knows his way around bees pretty well.

It all started in 2009 when Dennis was growing an heirloom garden and then, as these things do, it all snowballed. He got a worm farm. And a composter. And when he looked around he decided he needed more pollinators. One day later he heard about the Backwards Beekeepers on KPCC and within a week Dennis had been to a meeting and was making arrangements with HoneyLove mentor Kirk Anderson to bring a swarm.

Dennis HoneyLover

A few weeks later Dennis was doing his own feral colony rescues all over Los Angeles. (His ringtone cries “Help!” when a rescue call comes in.)

Dennis still has just one hive. “I had two but one of them was mean so I sent them off to a beekeeper in the high desert,” Dennis explained. “One hive is plenty. And if they abscond, I just get more.”

His hive is five boxes high and Dennis only goes in for a few frames of honey every now and then. “I want them to be bees and pollinate. That’s it.” When asked if his colony has a name he laughed. “They’re bugs! I don’t name bugs.”

Honey from the Dale

Dennis also owns and shows Grand Champion Cairn Terriers. Better yet, he has his dogs Betty and Deuce in Earth Dog and Lure Coursing competitions because he believes that dogs not only need a job but that they should get dirty and have fun.

After a stint in the military, Dennis worked for ABC TV for 25 years in Network Operations, retiring as Department Head.  “It got fun when things went wrong and you had to fly by the seat of your pants.”

Sounds a lot like bee rescue, doesn’t it?

Follow Dennis and his bee adventures here:
http://buzzinthedale.blogspot.com/

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The Harmony of Bees

Harmony Of Bees
Thanks to Donna Strong for donating a copy of her “Harmony of Bees” CD to our HoneyLove Lending Library!

Description:

Bees bring the sweetness of the flowers to us, making the world more fertile and abundant. This bee recording gives us access to sounds of nature that few people will ever hear–the high hum of bees busily pollinating a field full of flowering lavender. It is magical.

This recording has been named The Harmony of Bees; Healing Notes of Nature based on the comments of an Ecuadorian shaman who sleeps atop a hive because he finds the bee sounds so healing. The sound of the bees in a summer field of lavender is a unique experience of hearing a peak moment of pollination in action.

We humans have a new art form to cultivate–appreciating the beauty of the bees as they so productively apply themselves to the work of pollinating. Just as the plants transform sunlight, water and earthly elements into green life and pollen grains of reproductive abundance; the bees continue this caravan of nature’s alchemy through their vital work of pollination.

Bees are threatened by habitat changes, pesticide usage, and stressful commercial practices of trucking them over long distances and feeding them junk food such as sugar water, while expecting them to pollinate and produce honey without the food that nature has intended for millennia–their own honey and pollen.

This recording has been made to increase awareness of these endangered pollinators while helping us regenerate ourselves with this unique healing sound of nature. As you listen to this recording, I invite you to begin a new way to listen and heighten your perception of the bees in a kind of ‘moving meditation’ as it were, of being fully present in the moment as they move in and out of the lavender flowers in the field.

For more information:
www.facebook.com/harmony.bees
info@harmonyofbees.com
Donna Strong @714.235.7346
Available through CD Baby: http://cdbaby.com/cd/donnastrong

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HoneyLovin today @MuirRanch w/ @Cocoxochitl

Mark your calendar folks because today was a big day…
Say hello to HoneyLove’s 1st School Garden with Bees!! Yay Muir Ranch!!

HoneyLove at Muir Ranch  HoneyLove at Muir Ranch

HoneyLove at Muir Ranch

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