What DST posted on bee day
Not a bad bee day, was it? I hope you enjoyed it. And hello to the new followers! I’m not always so prolific, but when I am, it’s because of bees.
From PLoS ONE: highly promiscuous honey bee queens have healthier hives.
Colonies with genetically diverse populations of workers, a result of the highly promiscuous mating behavior of queens, benefited from greater microbial diversity, reduced pathogen loads, and increased abundance of putatively helpful bacteria, particularly species from the potentially probiotic genus Bifidobacterium.
Its also apparently deadly to newborns
Yep! Honey can cause infant botulism, which is why the bottles always say “do not feed to children younger than 2 years.”
Honey contains Clostridium botulinum spores, which won’t harm individuals who have a matured digestive system. In an infant digestive tract, however, the bacteria will multiply and produce the botulism toxin, which begins affecting the baby’s nervous system and ability to move.
Also it is apparently a little thicker than baby throats can work with and presents a choking hazard, go fig.
The Defense Advanced Research Laboratory (DARPA) has been training bees to sniff out explosives the same way dogs do. They can even be trained the same way dogs are – associating a stimulus with a reward. Bees learn that after exposure to the trace molecules coming off explosives, they’ll be treated with sugar water. Since they expect it, the next time they detect these molecules, they’ll start sticking out their tongue in anticipation.
So how do you know a bee has detected a bomb? Easy, they swarm around and stick out their proboscis, waiting for their sweet treat. Special monitoring equipment keeps track of the bees and can pick up on the motion of their proboscis wiggling.
(I add that the bees are not hurt while being trained or in the line of duty - and the line of duty is short, even by bee-terms. The bees work for two days, max, before they can retire and return to relaxing colony life.)
In the 80s, NASA sent some bees up into space. They did pretty well…but there was this one thing.
No bee went to the restroom.
Bees are obsessive about keeping their hive clean. Since they couldn’t leave the hive to do what needed doing, they…well, they held it in.
For seven days.
That hive was, as one astronaut put it, “neat as a pin.”
(From PLoS ONE) : After infection with a fungal parasite, bees use propolis (a sticky substance made of several resins) to self-medicate and to protect their hives against future infection. They also seek out the resin when their larvae are infected, demonstrating once more that bees are concerned with the health of their entire colony, not just with themselves.
DailyScienceThing declares today to be BEE DAY. Our posts will be BEE THEMED all day today, making for a nice apicultural exchange. :3