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Archive for the ‘Beetwixt & Beetween’ Category

The singing bee comes like a little ship,

And docks beside a rose for cargoed wine,

Its gossamer paddles spinning in the air

A little plane upon the flower vine.

It anchors in the bell upon its quest,

And lulls its motor in the crimson bower,

Then with its honey glides on to the west,

A tiny airplane stealing off a flower.

.

Its paddles fan the wind in silver singing,

A boom of music down the garden dells;

The honey monoplane with motors ringing,

Its gauze propellers purring like soft bells;

And so it dips and soars and dives and noses,

A little ship among the summer roses.

.

by Edwin Curran (1892-????)

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“In 1822 the first hive bees were brought to this part of the world (Sydney), by a Captain Wallace, or Willis, in the ship “Isabella,” according to Haydon. From the bees thus introduced colonies were propagated and distributed inland. In the Government Gazette, of 21st June, 1822, there appeared this advertisement : — “Hive of bees for sale by Mr. Parr. Bees imported by Captain Wallace (or Willis).” In a number of the old Sydney Gazette, dated Friday, 1st November, 1822, there appears this paragraph: — “We congratulate our readersi upon the complete establishment of that most valuable insect, the bee, in this country. During the last three weeks three swarms of bees have been produced from two hives, the property of D. Wentworth, Esq., purchased by him from Captain Wallace, of the ‘Isabella,’ at his estate, Homebush, near Parramatta.”

“In the Sydney Morning Herald, of 10th August, 1863, it stated that at a meeting of the Acclimatisation Society of New South Wales, bees were first brought to this country by Captain Braidwood Wilson, from Hobart Town, in 1831. This was contradicted in a later issue of tTie same paper in these words: — “Bees were brought from England to Sydney in the year 1824, in the ship ‘Phoenix,’ which sailed from Portsmouth in March of that year.” This, too, is evidently a mistake, or perhaps another importation, as is evident from the fact that bees were advertised for sale in 1822, which has already been referred to. In 1840, a settler at Jervis Bay purchased two colonies of beef-‘, for which he paid £4, and engaged two aboriginals to carry the hives on their heads a distance of 40 miles. These were the black or English bees, sometimes termed the; German bee. For most of these dates and extracts I am indebted to Mr. S. M. Mowle, Usher of the Black Rod, of the Legislative Council, who married the only daughter of the late Captain Braidwood Wilson, R.N.”

From: Australian Bee Lore and Bee Culture by Albert Gale 1912.

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Snowflakes are beautiful decorations on Christmas Day. Why not make your own?

Rowse Honey had a lovely site with a bee snowflake design (see picture above).

However, the design has vanished.  I’m asking Rowse to send me a copy if they still have them.  Let’s see!

The old link was:

 

Make the Christmas Bee Snowflake

 

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What colors creatures see has long interested scientists, and aside from us, more is known about what colors bees see than any other living thing.  Like us, bees are trichromatic.  Whereas we base our color combinations on red, blue, and green, bees base all their colors on UV, blue , and green.  Just as color blind people do not see red or green, and therefore experience the world of color differently, bees also perceive the world in colors entirely different from ours.  Bees do not see red and have a hard time distinguishing it from surrounding green leaf backgrounds.  Bees that frequent red flowers are either perceive them in color they can see, or the red flower is not being lost against a green background.  Even though bees don’t see red, they can see other reddish wavelengths such as orange and yellow.

The light spectrum bees see is from 600 – 300 nm. The colors bees see are blue-green, blue, violet, and ultraviolet, with research showing our purple followed by our violet then our blue as their favorites. Mixing ultraviolet wavelengths with the wavelengths of colors they can and can’t see, gives bees a world of color different from our own.   If deprived of UV light, bees lose interest in foraging, and remain in the hive until forced out by severe food shortages.

Bees not only see flowers in different colors than we do, bees also see ultra-violet light patterns, invisible to us, at the center that are a different color than the rest of the flower.   From a bee’s-eye-view, the UV colors and patterns in a flower’s petals dramatically announce the flower’s stash of nectar and pollen.  These UV patterns serve as a landing zone, guiding the bees to the nectar source.

we see 
bees see
add in UV
red black uv purple
orange yellow/green*
yellow yellow/green* uv purple
green green
blue blue uv violet
violet blue uv blue
purple blue
white blue green
black black

*even the experts don’t agree as to what colour the bee sees!

Below is a fantastic link of photographs of flowers taken with Ultraviolet filters showing the landing patterns and flouresence.
The color of these uv flowers is dependant on the filter used by the photographer, and is not the color perceived by the bee.
Here is a picture of Arnica angustifolia Vahl as a human might see it:
And here is a picture of the same flower as a bee might see it – with an ultraviolet “bullseye” pattern to attract the bee:

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The following animation takes my vote for the best animated bee movie ever:

Here is some background on Dot’s story (running away from her world as it is being destroyed – and saved by a bee!).

It also gives some great insights into the world’s smallest film (even though it is a subtle advert for Nokia mobile phones) and brings together cutting-edge medical technology with 3D printing. Totally awesome!

Vote for it on the Webby Awards here!

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I just love stories that show that the world of bees is unexplainable, beyond individual intelligence and that even to the most brainiest of scientists can’t explain how they do it!

Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London and Royal Holloway, University of London have discovered that bees learn to fly the shortest possible route between flowers even if they discover the flowers in a different order. Bees are effectively solving the ‘Travelling Salesman Problem’, and these are the first animals found to do this.


The Travelling Salesman must find the shortest route that allows him to visit all locations on his route. Computers solve it by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest. However, bees solve it without computer assistance using a brain the size of grass seed. […]

Co-author and Queen Mary colleague, Dr. Mathieu Lihoreau adds: “There is a common perception that smaller brains constrain animals to be simple reflex machines. But our work with bees shows advanced cognitive capacities with very limited neuron numbers. There is an urgent need to understand the neuronal hardware underpinning animal intelligence, and relatively simple nervous systems such as those of insects make this mystery more tractable.

So long as scientists only think of bees as individual insects, they will continue to miss the point.  Same for the planet really.  So long as governments continue to see us as individuals, they will also miss the point.  Time for more research into swarm intelligence and the subtle energies that allow colonies to survive and prosper.

Story from: http://technoccult.net/archives/2010/10/27/bees-can-solve-the-travelling-salesman-problem/

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With the first two weeks on holiday, the bees had to wait until last weekend before I removed the honey.  We took four full supers – which will produce a good crop – though I have not extracted it yet. Planning on that next weekend.

I always leave a super on each hive to over-winter.  Some beekeepers think this is a waste of good honey – but I think that the bees will be more healthy if they eat their own honey rather than sugar substitute.

Whilst inspecting the hives I took my notebook out of the toolbox to find it had been leaked on by some water – and all of this seasons records were literally dissolved.  Quite extraordinary!  So my records are now my rusty old memory and the odd blog entry.  A lesson there somewhere – perhaps use indelible ink or something?

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