of course, not everyone can do all these things! but if you are concerned, here is a list of information and resources.
KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT BEE DECLINE:
The global and European situation with bees and other pollinators
Watch Marla Spivak’s TED talk: Why bees are disappearing
PLANT BEE-FRIENDLY PLANTS:
List of bee plants by category
Know your garden store: Don’t poison bees by accident
MAKE A WILD BEE HOUSE:
About wild/solitary bees & how to build a bee house
more on bee houses
ENCOURAGE YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO DO MORE TO HELP:
Bee Health: Background and Issues for Congress
(unfortunately, I cannot provide a comprehensive list of how to contact local governments, it would be much easier for you to research this on your own.)
(all drawings by mod aliza)
I learned yesterday that when you see a bee on the ground that isn’t moving, it’s not necessarily dead, it’s probably just dead tired from carrying lots of pollen and needs re-energising. So if you mix a tiny bit of water with some sugar and let it drink it will give it the boost it needs to continue on its way. Bizarrely, this exact thing happened today! I found a knackered bee, mixed up some sugar water, gave it a drink and watched it guzzle and guzzle then suddenly come back to life. It was amazing! Thank you patrick, it was an excellent tip that i’ll never forget and will continue to pass on to others!
QBI scientists at The University of Queensland have found that honeybees use the pattern of polarised light in the sky invisible to humans to direct one another to a honey source.
The study, conducted in Professor Mandyam Srinivasan’s laboratory at the Queensland Brain Institute, a member of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Vision Science (ACEVS), demonstrated that bees navigate to and from honey sources by reading the pattern of polarised light in the sky.
“The bees tell each other where the nectar is by converting their polarised ‘light map’ into dance movements,” Professor Srinivasan said.
“The more we find out how honeybees make their way around the landscape, the more awed we feel at the elegant way they solve very complicated problems of navigation that would floor most people – and then communicate them to other bees,” he said.
The discovery shines new light on the astonishing navigational and communication skills of an insect with a brain the size of a pinhead.
The researchers allowed bees to fly down a tunnel to a sugar source, shining only polarised light from above, either aligned with the tunnel or at right angles to the tunnel.
They then filmed what the bees ‘told’ their peers, by waggling their bodies when they got back to the hive.
“It is well known that bees steer by the sun, adjusting their compass as it moves across the sky, and then convert that information into instructions for other bees by waggling their body to signal the direction of the honey,” Professor Srinivasan said.
“Other laboratories have shown from studying their eyes that bees can see a pattern of polarised light in the sky even when the sun isn’t shining: the big question was could they translate the navigational information it provides into their waggle dance.”
The researchers conclude that even when the sun is not shining, bees can tell one another where to find food by reading and dancing to their polarised sky map.
In addition to revealing how bees perform their remarkable tasks, Professor Srinivasan says it also adds to our understanding of some of the most basic machinery of the brain itself.
Professor Srinivasan’s team conjectures that flight under polarised illumination activates discrete populations of cells in the insect’s brain.
When the polarised light was aligned with the tunnel, one pair of ‘place cells’ – neurons important for spatial navigation – became activated, whereas when the light was oriented across the tunnel a different pair of place cells was activated.
The researchers suggest that depending on which set of cells is activated, the bee can work out if the food source lies in a direction toward or opposite the direction of the sun, or in a direction ninety degrees to the left or right of it.
It’s Hard Out There for a Honeybee- Bryan Walsh
Honeybees in Kenya are infested with parasites, but they still thrive — unlike their American cousins. Are there lessons for U.S. beekeepers?
Commercial honeybees might be America’s unluckiest laborers. They’re infested with pests like the Varroa destructor mite and theNosema ceranaeparasite; infected with diseases like the Israeli paralytic virus and the tobacco ringspot virus; dosed with pesticides like clothianidin and imidacloprid; starved of nutrition thanks to crop monocultures; shipped around the country to be worked half to death in almond fields and apple orchards; and victimized by a still mysterious malady called colony-collapse disorder (CCD). It’s little surprise that U.S. beekeepers lost about a third of their colonies over the winter of 2012–13, and if early reports from states like Ohio are any indication, this year could be even worse.
But there’s a place where honeybees are apparently doing much better: East Africa. In a study that came out recently in the journal PLOS One, researchers from Kenya and the U.S. surveyed honeybee populations at 24 locations throughout the African country. And the scientists found that while honeybees in Kenya suffered from some of the same problems as their Western counterparts, the African bees remained much more robust. “I was amazed by the lack of manifestation of ill health in the bees,” Elliud Muli, lead author on the paper, told National Geographic.
What’s protected the Kenyan honeybees? African honeybees rarely encounter the sorts of pesticides that are in heavy use on American farms — and which pose a clear danger to American bees. The African bees also generally stay in one place, while the biggest honeybee keepers in the U.S. will move their colonies thousands of miles for major events like the California almond-tree pollination, which requires an astounding 60% of all hives in the U.S. Without those additional stressors, the Kenyan honeybees seem capable of thriving even in the presence of dangerous pests.
That doesn’t mean that pesticides alone are causing CCD — but they sure aren’t helping, as even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun to realize. Last year the EPA ordered changes in the labeling of neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been linked to high rates of honeybee deaths and which have been banned in Europe. American honeybees also suffer from a lack of nutrition, as bee-friendly wild spaces are converted into corn or soybean fields that offer them little forage.
A Department of Agriculture program announced this winter will put $3 million toward encouraging farmers and ranchers in the Midwest to plant bee-friendly plants on the edges of their fields. That will help, but far more must be done. As I wrote in our TIME cover story on the subject last year, it’s as if the modern American environment itself is hostile to the health of honeybees. Even the hardest-working members of the animal kingdom can only take so much.
from Time magazine
a-swarm-of-bees replied to your post:magic anon! how dare you step in our fairy ring! for 2 days, helm is cursed with terrible luck. everything that can go wrong WILL go wrong.BzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
As if stepping on a single bee wasn’t enough, Helm now had a whole swarm after him. Turning in panic, he flaps his wings to try and fly away- only to find his wings were suddenly cramping up. He can do nothing but try to run away from the swarm, his foot hurting from where he’d stepped on the first bee.
The bees swarmed all around the large bird, attracted by the alarm pheromone released by the crushed bee underfoot. Landing upon his body as he failed to fly away, the insects buried their mandibles into his plumage and began biting at his skin underneath.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Flight of the bumblebee (composed 1899-1990)
Bees know how to create a multiverse.
'Nature, by definition, is the one who creates things, and things created by nature have always been perfect in substance and form. It is Hexagon the perfect shape generated by nature. Just think of bee, thatwithout any measuring instrument, builds its honeycomb creating hexagons of extraordinary perfection. Even the human being used this geometrical shape, when he wanted to build important symbols; baptisteries, for example, are an evidence of it. By Hexagon have been inspired scientists and poets that saw in it a symbol of perfection. Leonardo da Vinci saw in the six sides of Hexagon the essential sources for human life.'
Pythagoreans perceived the hexagon as an expression of the spirit of Aphrodite, whose sacred number was six (the dual Triple Goddess), and worshipped bees as her sacred creatures who understood how to create perfect hexagons in their honeycomb. Seeking to understand the secrets of nature through geometry, the Pythagoreans meditated on the endless triangular lattice, all sixty degree angles, that results from extending the sides of all hexagons in the honeycomb diagram until their lines meet in the center of adjacent hexagons. It seemed to them a revelation of the underlying symmetry of the cosmos. Moreover, since honey and salt were the only commonly known preservatives at the time, both were symbols of resurrection or reincarnation. The dead were often embalmed in honey, especially in the burial vases, where they were placed in fetal position for rebirth. Demeter was “the pure mother bee” who governed the cycles of life, as was the biblical Deborah whose name means “bee.” Honey cakes formed like female genitals figured prominently in worship of the Goddess. The bee was usually looked upon as a symbol of the feminine potency of nature, because it created this magical, good tasting substance and stored it in hexagonal cells of geometric mystery. With so many ancient connections with the Goddess, it was inevitable that medieval hymns addressed the virgin Mary as a “nest of honey” and “dripping honeycomb.”
Honeycombs in the wild are amazing.
Apparently some vegans are telling people not to eat honey to support bees.
STOP. STOP NOW.
DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW BEES WORK?
Buy honey (local if possible) -> support beekeepers -> support bees.
I swear people don’t even think this stuff out.
Beekeepers provide bees with an environment in which they can live, and are encouraged to thrive. Bees then have a big huge giant person who can deal with any threats to the hive.
Yes, honey is a winter food supply for bees, but beekeepers (unless they’re dicks, in which case they’d be shooting themselves in the foot) will NEVER take too much honey from a hive, and will always ensure that bees have enough food. Think about it, you’re not going to starve a source of income/hobby, are you?