Archive for June, 2010

what is CCD? “colony collapse disorder”

What is it about that title?
Hmmmm…….. ED Erectile dysfunction, RLS restless leg syndrome, ADD Attention deficit disorder.
One thing I have noticed about human nature is that we need to identify, label and vilify the “disorder” so that we can blame someone else, create a patented wonder drug complete with research funding to solve the problem, and of course get bailout funding.
Take for example, the other day I’m in Wal-mart sitting on a bench waiting for my lovely wife. I can hear on the pre-recorded background noise coming from the pharmacy that “dry mouth is a treatable condition”. I was shocked to hear the announcer say that “it might be treatable by sipping water or using [their product].” Go figure! Read the rest of this entry →


06 2010

The Unique Defensive Behavior of the Japanese Honeybee

The Japanese honeybees forming a "bee ball" around 2 hornets. Photo by Takahashi, Wikimedia Commons

Japanese honeybees (Apis cerrana japonica), over eons of cohabitation, have evolved a unique defensive behavior to combat Japanese giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia).  Japanese giant hornets feed their larvae with protein garnered from the larvae or carcasses of other insects, and often attack honeybee hives to obtain honeybee larvae.  The hornets are formidable killers, using their sharp talons and powerful mandibles to sever limbs and heads.  European honeybees (Apis mellifera) have no answer for these predators, and European honeybee hives are quickly decimated by the hornets, which chew the honeybee larvae into a protein paste to give to young hornet larvae.

The Japanese honeybees have a distinct defensive behavior in response to hornet predation.  If a hornet scout enters the hive, the bees will “ball” the hornet by swarming it.  The effect of the swarming is to raise the temperature of the “ball” interior to 117ºF, a temperature lethal to the hornet, but not to the bees.  The hornet is killed from overexposure to heat, and the hive is saved.

Japanese Honeybees.


06 2010