like Facebook follow Twitter watch YouTube subscribe RSS Feed
Tag Archives | wings

How Fast Can a Honey Bee Fly?

[via ucanr.edu]

A honey bee can beat its wings 230 times every second. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee can beat its wings 230 times every second. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

 

We captured these photos today of a honey bee nectaring on catmint (genus Nepeta). The bee was moving fast. To blur the wings, we set the shutter speed at 1/640 of a second with an f-stop of 13 and IS0 of 800.

But just how fast can a honey bee fly?

Its wings beat 230 times every second, according to Douglas Altshuler, a researcher at California Institute of Technology who co-authored research, “Short-Amplitude High-Frequency Wing Strokes Determine the Aerodynamics of Honeybee Flight,” published in  December 2005 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The honey bees have a rapid wing beat,” he told LiveScience in an interview published in January 2006. “In contrast to the fruit fly that has one-eightieth the body size and flaps its wings 200 times each second, the much larger honeybee flaps its wings 230 times every second.”

“And this was just for hovering,” Altshuler said. “They also have to transfer pollen and nectar and carry large loads, sometimes as much as their body mass, for the rest of the colony.”

The Hive and the Honey Bee, the “Bible” of beekeeping, indicates that a bee’s flight speed averages about 15 miles per hour and they’re capable of flying 20 miles per hour.

If they’re not carrying nectar, pollen, water or propolis (plant resin), they’ll fly much faster!

[read original article via ucanr.edu]

Read full story · Posted in Yay Bees

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

PHOTO: Bees Knees

Read full story · Posted in Uncategorized

We just reached 200 followers!!! ? Yay bees! 
http://www.iheartbees.tumblr.com

Read full story · Posted in Uncategorized

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]

Read full story · Posted in Uncategorized

Alpaca-bee

Read full story · Posted in Uncategorized

ARTICLE: Young beekeeper enjoys honey, helps tend hives and isn’t afraid of being stung

Through his white beekeeper’s veil, 8-year-old Sam Shapiro looks down at the delicate black and yellow worker bee that just landed on his chest. “She won’t hurt me,” Sam says. “A lot of kids go psycho when a bee gets near them. But if I just stand still, she’ll think I’m a statue.” Wearing a veil when working with bees is like wearing a helmet when riding your bike… According to Sam, bees make great pets. They are fun to take care of, and they make food for their owners.

Sam has spent his entire life with bees in his family. When he was 2, he would stand at the window and watch his dad (experienced urban beekeeper Milt Shapiro) checking the hives in the side yard of their home in Northwest Washington. When he was 3, he and his dad would sit outside in the summer, admiring the worker bees as they delivered pollen (carried on their back legs “like little puff balls,” Sam says) to the hive…

Each summer, Sam and his dad harvest the honey. “When my dad takes a comb out of the hive,” the Lafayette Elementary third-grader says, “it’s covered with honey. You don’t want to put it on the ground because leaves would stick to it, so my job is to hold it.”

Next, they squeeze the comb into a clean bucket where it will drip honey through a filter for a few days. “The honey drips so slowly,” Sam says, “but you don’t want to waste a drop. It’s worth something even better than money.”

It smells good, too — like standing in a field of freshly cut hay on a bright, breezy summer day.

Finally, Sam and his father open the spout at the bottom of the bucket and pour the honey into glass jars. “I can just feel the honey dripping off my hand,” Sam says. “It’s sticky, and I lick every bit off my fingers. It tastes like heaven.” Later on, he enjoys his heavenly treat by the spoonful, on bread and in gooey sandwiches with peanut butter.

[click here to view the full story on washingtonpost.com]

Read full story · Posted in Uncategorized

Bees at work, the ‘waggle dance’

“They dance a special dance usually performed on a vertical surface of the hive, communicating the direction of a potential food source and its distance from the hive to other bees around… The distance the food source is from the hive is represented by the proportion of time the bee spends wagging its tail in the dance and the direction is represented by the angle to the vertical the bee adopts for the wagging portion of the dance…”

Read full story · Posted in Uncategorized

Art by Nicole Erthein

Read full story · Posted in Uncategorized

VIDEO: Urban beekeeping in Glasgow, Scotland

Read full story · Posted in Uncategorized