Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

This is at least bee related, every year Nikon sponsors what it calls ‘Small World Photomicrography’ contest.  The photos can be viewed at:

nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/photo/2015-photomicrography-competition

This year’s winter is “honey bee eye with dandelion pollen grains, 120x”.  The following goes with the photo, as reported in Microscopy and Microanalysis, Issue 140, November/December 2015:

A reflected light microscopy image of a honey bee eye covered in dandelion pollen grains has won the 2015 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Contest.

Judges were particularly impressed with how Ralph Grimm had captured this image stack, which included more than four hours of careful work to mount the eye, set the focus increments, illuminate the subject and avoid peripheral smudging during the stacking process.

Grimm, a high school teacher and former beekeeper based in Queensland Australia, hopes his image will raise the profile of this endangered species that plays a critical function in pollinating the world’s crops.

If you want to go directly to that image and not bother with the other photos use the link below.   But they are worth a look!!

nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/entry/2015-photomicrography-competition/1

Russ Davis
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
(8-})

.
wcba

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

bee feeding larvaFour pesticides commonly used on crops to kill insects and fungi also kill honeybee larvae within their hives, according to new research. Scientists also found that N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone — an inert, or inactive, chemical commonly used as a pesticide additive — is highly toxic to honeybee larvae.

“We found that four of the pesticides most commonly found in beehives kill bee larvae,” said Jim Frazier, professor of entomology, Penn State. “We also found that the negative effects of these pesticides are sometimes greater when the pesticides occur in combinations within the hive. Since pesticide safety is judged almost entirely on adult honeybee sensitivity to individual pesticides and also does not consider mixtures of pesticides, the risk assessment process that the Environmental Protection Agency uses should be changed.”

According to Frazier, the team’s previous research demonstrated that forager bees bring back to the hive an average of six different pesticides on the pollen they collect. Nurse bees use this pollen to make beebread, which they then feed to honeybee larvae.

To examine the effects of four common pesticides — fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorothalonil and chlorpyrifos — on bee larvae, the researchers reared honeybee larvae in their laboratory. They then applied the pesticides alone and in all combinations to the beebread to determine whether these insecticides and fungicides act alone or in concert to create a toxic environment for honeybee growth and development. [ … continue reading ]

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140127122825.htm

.
wcba

Read Full Post »

Jan. 18, 2014 — Gender differences in nature are common, including in humans. A research team from Bern, Switzerland has found that male European honey bees, or drones, are much more susceptible than female European honey bees, known as workers, to a fungal intestinal parasite called Nosema ceranae. Originally from Asia, Nosema ceranae has rapidly spread throughout the world in recent years, and may contribute to the high number of colony deaths now observed in many regions of the northern hemisphere. These findings demonstrate the delicate nature of male honey bees, which are important to honey bee colony reproduction, to a well-distributed parasite. [ … continue reading ]

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140118122503.htm

.
wcba

Read Full Post »

December 6, 2013 | by Lisa Winter

Honey bee 01_thumb[6]Remember that bee you swatted at and tried to kill, but it ended up getting away? Watch your back, because it knows what you look like. New research reveals that certain paper wasps and honeybees can remember distinct characteristics of individual faces. This came as a surprise to researchers who did not expect to see such advanced social abilities in creatures with such tiny brains.

Humans are excellent at identifying people based on looks. Other animals, like crows, have been documented as being able to identify individuals too, though their brains are much bigger and they are generally regarded as much more intelligent than these paper wasps. Honeybees were also shown to be able to recognize different faces, including those belonging to humans.

When these insects view an individual (be it another insect or the person who just pissed them off by swinging a newspaper at them), their field of vision is broken up into hexagons from the thousands of ommatidia that make up the compound eye. Essentially, they process information based on these chunks from the structures in the eye that act as individual units and put the entire picture together. It might not be very clear compared to what we are used to since they don’t have a pupil to regulate the amount of light coming in onto the retina, but it is good enough to allow wasps and bees to discern prominent facial features that can be used for identification.

Understanding how these insects are able to achieve this high level of individual detection with such a relatively simple brain might be able to inspire new facial recognition programs. This research was announced by Elizabeth Tibbetts from the University of Michigan published a paper on these results in the journal Ethology. Her colleague Adrian Dyer from RMIT University has published five papers this year regarding Hymenoptera vision.

Source:  http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/wasps-can-remember-individual-faces

.
wcba

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

varroa_on_beeJuly 17, 2013 — Honey bees (Apis mellifera) infected with the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, or the microsporidia, Nosema ceranae, have changes in the chemical profile of their skin and in their brains, finds research in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Ecology. Despite this, parasitized bees were not expelled from the hive, which, the authors say, supports the hypothesis that stressed bees leave the hive altruistically to prevent the spread of infection.

This study from INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) investigated the effect of parasitization on honey bees living in hives at Avignon. Individual bees were infected with either the ectoparasite Varroa, which lives on the bees, or endoparasite Nosema, which invades their bodies, and reintroduced to the hive. After a few days the effect of infection on bees and their behavior was monitored.

Parasitization caused changes in the levels of active genes in the brains of infected bees. Varroa altered the activity of 455 genes, including genes involved in GABA and serotonin signaling, while Nosema affected 57. Twenty genes were common between the two infections and several of the up-regulated genes are involved in oxidative stress, neural function and foraging behavior. Parasitized bees also tended to have a higher viral infection as well, adding to their disease burden, — even if they did not have physical symptoms. [ …continue ]

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130717051738.htm

.
wcba

Read Full Post »

by Laura Poppick, Staff Writer | July 17, 2013 02:03pm ET

honeycomb_2The perfect hexagonal shape of honeycomb cells — once thought to be an incredible feat of math-savvy insects — has now been explained by simple mechanics.

Scientists have marveled at the angular perfection of honeycomb for centuries, but none have been able to clearly describe how it forms. Engineers in the U.K. and China have taken a step forward by showing that the cells actually start off as circles — molded by the shape of a bee’s body — and then flow into a hexagonal pattern seconds later. The researchers reported their findings yesterday (July 16) in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

“People have always speculated how bees have formed these honeycombs,” said Bhushan Karihaloo, an engineer at Cardiff University in the U.K. and co-author of the study, citing Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler as two of the luminaries mystified by the problem. “There have been some incredible, esoteric, even bizarre explanations; [some people] believed the bees had an uncanny ability to measure angles. But it’s actually much more mundane.”

Source: http://www.livescience.com/38242-why-honeybee-honeycombs-are-perfect.html

.
wcba

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »