Today we remember Karl von Frisch (11/20/1886–6/12/1982), the Austrian zoologist who discovered that the bees use dance as a language to communicate the location of food. This theory was greeted with skepticism when first introduced. In addition to studying their dance, Mr. von Frisch also studied their usage of pheromones and their vision. In 1973, Karl von Frisch was one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Archive for the ‘History’Category
As you may know, EB White was the author of the much-beloved books “Charlotte’s Web,” “Stuart Little” and “The Elements of Style.” But did you also know he was a dedicated beekeeper? With a dash of humor, E.B. White addressed queen rearing in this poem, which was published in The New Yorker December 15, 1945:
Song of the Queen Bee
“The breeding of the bee,” says a United States Department of Agriculture bulletin on artificial insemination, “has always been handicapped by the fact that the queen mates in the air with whatever drone she encounters.”
When the air is wine and the wind is free
and the morning sits on the lovely leaf,
and sunlight ripples on every tree
Then love-in-air is the thing for me
I’m a bee,
I’m a ravishing, rollicking, young queen bee,
Read the rest of this entry →
The 5th of May, 1821. On this day, Napoleon Bonaparte, the former French Emperor, died on St. Helena.
Although he was never a beekeeper, Napoleon used the honey bee as one of the most important symbols of the power and prestige of his empire.
There seems to be two schools of thought of why Napoleon’s government chose the honey bee as part of its iconography. Read the rest of this entry →
Born on February 3, 1867 to former slaves, Dr. Charles Turner rose to become one of the preeminent entomologists in the United States. Dr. Turner earned his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Cincinnati and later became the first African-American to receive a Ph.D in zoology from the University of Chicago.
Dr. Turner published nearly 50 scholarly papers and is the source of a number of groundbreaking breakthroughts including the discovery that insects can hear and that ants use light and smell to travel to and from their nests. He also discovered that honey bees have color vision and are able to recognize patterns and shapes. His seminal work pre-dated that of Nobel prize winner Karl von Frisch.
“There is something palpable about these new MacArthur Fellows, about their character as explorers and pioneers at the cutting edge. These are women and men improving, protecting, and making our world a better place for us all. “ ~~ Daniel J. Socolow, Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program
Big news for the honeybee.
Earlier today, Marla Spivak, an entomologist from the University of Minnesota who is studying the impacts of nutrition, pesticides, and bee diseases on bee health, was named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow. These so-called Genius Grants provide $500,000 to each fellow, with no strings attached.
It’s nice to see people who are working to solve the mystery of colony collapse get a little recognition … and support!
Finding the answer will definitely make the world a better place for us all.
In Ancient Greek mythology and religion, the term Melissae sometimes referred to honey nymphs (also called Meliae) and later became a term that also encompassed several sects of priestess, including the Delphic oracle. Letters to the Melissae is a series of posts on the spiritual, mythological and folkloric legacy of the ancient relationship between honeybees and human beings. Photo found here.
Honey at the Table
It fills you with the soft
essence of vanished flowers, it becomes
a trickle sharp as a hair that you follow
from the honey pot over the table
and out the door and over the ground,
and all the while it thickens,
grows deeper and wilder, edged
with pine boughs and wet boulders,
pawprints of bobcat and bear, until
deep in the forest you
shuffle up some tree, you rip the bark,
you float into and swallow the dripping combs,
bits of the tree, crushed bees – - – a taste
composed of everything lost, in which everything lost is found.
In Ancient Greek mythology and religion, the term Melissae sometimes referred to honey nymphs (also called Meliae) and later became a term that also encompassed several sects of priestess, including the Delphic oracle. Letters to the Melissae is a series of posts on the spiritual, mythological and folkloric legacy of the ancient relationship between honeybees and human beings.
It is high summer in our little porch garden. The tomatoes are ripening and the peppers are coming in. The potted rosebushes are still blooming, bless them, and there are hips forming on the Rugosa. The bees, those Golden Sisters, are busy, and so are we – packing a million and one things into each bright-as-butter day. When I chance to see them in and amongst the tomato and pepper flowers, or reveling in the heart of spicy white rose, I say hello. I tell them about my life. Telling the bees. Read the rest of this entry →
Support the campaign for a L.L. Langstroth Stamp
Join the campaign for a U.S. stamp honoring Rev. L.L. Langstroth, aka “The Father of American Beekeeping” and the inventor of the movable frame hive. Write a letter to the USPS Stamp Advisory Committee, which will be considering a Langstroth commemorative stamp at a meeting this January. Click below for their address and more info. (A big thanks to the Science Friday Initiative for spearheading this important project!)
Isabella Rossellini has written, directed and presented an incredible series of visually stunning, hand-crafted short films about the sex lives of animals called “Green Porno”.
Although some might consider these educational videos a bit much for younger viewers (that’s for you to decide), they are amazing nonetheless. She gives first-person narratives as a bee, a spider, a snail and even as an earthworm.
Below is the video. Enjoy!