ARTICLE: How Honey Bees Keep Their Hives Warm Given That They are Cold Blooded
“Today I found out how Honey bees keep their hives warm even though they are cold blooded.
Up until only a few years ago, it was thought by many scientists that the Honey bee hives were kept warm by pupae in the brood and that the bees would often congregate there to warm themselves up from the pupae. Recently, this was found not to be the case when a new Honey bee job was discovered, that of “heater bees”. Bees of almost all ages can perform this function by either vibrating their abdomens or they can also decouple their wings from their muscles, allowing them to vigorously use these muscles without actually moving their wings. This can heat their bodies up to about 111° Fahrenheit (44° C), which is about 16° F (9° C) hotter than their normal body temperature.
Another new discovery that went with this was why queen bees leave certain cells in the brood empty. It was previously thought this was an undesirable quality of a queen, so queens that left less empty cells were sought out. In fact, these empty cells are essential to a healthy hive. Before the discovery of heater bees using infrared technology, it was thought the bees that crawled in these empty cells were cleaning them out. What’s actually happening is that the heater bees will crawl inside these cells to keep the surrounding cells at the proper temperature, able to warm a maximum of about 70 or so cells per heater bee.
The heater bees can also directly regulating temperature in individual cells by standing over and pressing their thorax against an individual cell, something which scientists used to think was just the bees resting. In reality, they are working their wing muscles extremely hard to heat up the cell with their heightened body temperature…”
[read the full article on todayifoundout.com]
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Since that victory in November of last year, a total of 7 Community Councils within Los Angeles (Mar Vista, Del Rey, Greater Griffith Park, South Robertson, Silver Lake, Hollywood United, and Atwater Village) have voted in support of our efforts to legalize urban beekeeping in LA! And last month we received our first official Motion from Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl to begin the process at a city level!
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ARTICLE: Collecting Nature’s Bounty: Honeybees
A triumph of nature and nurture, the queen honeybee is the head and heart of the hive. Plumped on royal jelly (secretion from the glands of worker bees) and pampered by worker bees, the queen is the colony’s big mama, whose sole mission is produce up to 2,000 eggs a day.
??Royal distinction for the queen bee can be traced to ancient times, some say 10,000 years ago, when human beings became beekeepers. In India, Persia, Rome Egypt and Babylonia, bees were considered sacred animals, symbols of life and fertility.
??In the 21st century, bees are no less important: they are responsible for the variety of our food, and ultimately our survival. ‘Four out of 10 bites of food we eat are dependent on the honeybee,’ says Michael Pollan, professor of science and environmental journalism at Berkeley…
When a swarm of honeybees showed up in Rob and Chelsea McFarland’s backyard, they called Backwards Beekeepers, a group of organic, treatment-free beekeepers in Los Angeles who remove and relocate honey bees. ‘It was pure magic for me seeing the swarm and gentle nature of bees,’ said Rob, a featured speaker at the Pali Cares program. The McFarlands are the founders of HoneyLove, a nonprofit organization with two goals: to inspire urban beekeepers and to help legalize beekeeping in Los Angeles.
??Contrary to popular lore, honeybees are too busy to be vicious. In the spring, when the nectar flows, bees are working overtime. ‘There is lots to forage on in our landscape,’ McFarland said. ‘Our cities are a banquet for bees. It is estimated that there are nine to 11 colonies for every mile in L.A.’
…in the last three years, more than one in three honeybee colonies nationwide has died in a phenomenon know as collapse colony disorder. For farmers, this is a not only a great worry but potentially catastrophic. According to the Natural History’s Brown, you need a certain number of colonies to pollinate orchards. Michael Pollan points to the loss of diversity in agriculture as contributing to the bees’ demise.
??’Monoculture wreaks havoc on honeybees’ diets, limiting options once the dominant crop is no longer flowering,’ he says. ‘Bees can’t survive on a continual cornfield; there is nothing to eat.’
??The industry is now transporting hives over long distances in order to pollinate orchards. Working the bees nonstop for up to three months causes tremendous stress on the bees. Pesticides and fertilizers further contribute to their demise.
??This is where backyard beekeepers can help make up a little for the loss and increase awareness of the problem, the McFarlands say.
??’We believe that the city is the last refuge of the honeybee. Our home gardens are free of pesticides, and in city like Los Angeles, there is year-round availability of pollen and nectar.’
??While beekeeping is legal in Los Angeles County and in certain cities, such as Santa Monica and Redondo Beach, ‘the city of L. A. has no official policy; therefore it is illegal,’ Chelsea says.
??Los Angeles currently outlaws beekeeping in residential areas, and the city’s policy is to exterminate all feral honeybees.
??Eight Community Councils within Los Angeles (Mar Vista, Del Rey, Greater Griffith Park, South Robertson, Silver Lake, Hollywood United, Atwater Village, and West L.A.) have already voted in favor of supporting an urban beekeeping program in residentially zoned districts.
??Legalizing beekeeping in Los Angeles would enable better bee management, control and public safety as compared to only having wild hives, which is the current situation, reasons Danny Jensen of Backwards Beekeepers. ‘More beekeepers actually mean fewer swarms, fewer feral bee colonies taking up residence where they aren’t wanted and fewer grumpy bees.’
??For more information on urban beekeeping and upcoming events, visit honeylove.org
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