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Cactii
12-15-2009, 11:56 PM
Ok guys... this is a link to an article with a photo... It's hard to believe but its true.

I plucked the branch off so I could get a decent picture.

http://www.beinggreenonline.com/daily-life/dangerous-flight-honey-bee-viewer-discretion-advised

jdpro5010
12-16-2009, 08:40 AM
I have seen my bees flying in the low 30F range and with snow on the ground. They usually just don't stop unless it is a permanent one!:D

Oldbee
12-16-2009, 08:47 AM
Wow! Thanks for the link to the photo; that is hard to believe.

I have a comment though: Almost immediately after I saw the photo, I thought of the Loggerhead Shrike; a bird whose range includes Mexico. Here's why:

"Its principal food is large insects; it also takes lizards and small birds. Known in many parts as the "Butcher Bird," it impales its prey on thorns or barbed wire before eating it, because it does not have the talons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claw) of the larger birds of prey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_of_prey)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loggerhead_Shrike

Maybe it was a juvenile, or young bird just learning how to capture its' own prey. The bee seemed like an easy target because it was small. I think they usually take larger insects. Perhaps the bird was scared off, just as it had impaled the bee, although I think they also "cache" their prey like this to eat at a later time.

The degree to which the thorn has penetrated the bees head, :eek: doesn't seem possible just from the bees' flight. Chitin is pretty strong stuff. There may also be some "laws of physics" :scratch: that might make this impossible; weight of bee, maximum speed of bee flight? I'm not saying it isn't possible; just wondering,...just wondering ;).

BEES4U
12-16-2009, 08:59 AM
This may give you an explanation;
Northern Schike
http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/671/articles/foodhabits

Large insects and vertebrates carried to special impaling or wedging structures in shrubs and trees (and barbed-wire fences), where they are firmly secured and can be pulled apart with bill. Occasionally impales invertebrate prey while still alive (ECA). Shrikes usually discard wings of large insects such as grasshoppers (Orthoptera) and nip off their spiny tarsi before eating rest of leg, which is thoroughly mandibulated with tomial teeth before swallowing. Before eating them, shrikes sometimes devenomize bumblebees, wasps, and other stinging Hymenoptera by expressing venom onto stinger by biting abdomen around sting gland and wiping off venom onto branch (as do bee-eaters [Meropidae]; Fry 1969), or by impaling bee first and then pulling out stinger and gland with bill (Gwinner 1961, von St. Paul and Gwinner 1962, TJC); but particularly young shrikes often swallow bees and wasps intact without devenomizing them. Hand-reared juvenile that once swallowed intact bumblebee was stung inside its throat, causing it to fall from its perch to ground, where it remained unconscious for about 30 s before recovering (TJC). Sometimes beats large arthropods against perch in manner similar to kingbirds (Tyrannus spp.; EAC).
_______________________________

Impaling prey on thorns and sharp objects or wedging prey in narrow V-shaped forks of branches well-developed behavior summer and winter; involves mainly larger arthropod and vertebrate prey. Insects typically held by thorax in shrike’s bill for impaling; vertebrates held by neck or shoulders. Emplacement on spike or in fork performed by jerking, pulling movements of head and neck; action continues until prey holds fast and further tugging does not dislodge it. Shrike may then start tearing off bites to eat or leave prey in storage (further details in Cramp and Perrins 1993). May spend considerable time (up to 45 min) wedging vertebrate prey, then removing and re-wedging in dif-ferent locations within same shrub (ECA).

Ernie

Cactii
12-16-2009, 09:17 AM
You can expand the picture and see that the bee itself has not been disturbed through forcing onto the spine. No hairs have been crushed... her wings are perfectly intact.

Her tongue is fully hanging out too.

The thorn actually goes right through her head. These are very sharp thorns too btw (if anybody doesn't know of them), they are like needles.

Cactii
12-16-2009, 04:17 PM
My neighbor was with me when I spotted it... I could record him on video saying it's for real... but he only speaks Spanish... lol

Crazy stuff I tell ya... Reminds me of when birds fly into windows... but I would think the bee would see this as they move so fast. It was about 30 meters (100 feet) away from the hive and if I recall correctly she was headed away from it.

France
12-16-2009, 06:27 PM
Wow man, are you saying that you and your neighbour saw this bee flying away from the hive when she got impelled..?


Here is a short story:
As a kid, I had bees in Europe and there, as you may or may not know, they have hedges between properties, instead of fences which are common or not - here.
Those hedges have in them mostly thorny bushes and trees. More thorns, the better the hedge is - for obvious reasons?

My bee-house/cebelnjak was mere few meters from two such hedges and I am telling you, that in nature exist birds, that feed exclusively on bees.
As it was already stated above, birds impel their pray on such thorns as an aid while eating.
In this story, back home, the birds actually catch bees and stash them for later use - by sticking them on those thorns.
When this bee eater, back home, raises it's young, one is catching the bees and impelling them on thorns, around the nest - while the other - picks them off and feeds them to their young. . .
So life goes on in nature - if one is lucky and keen enough to notice?!
Life is harsh in often unseen and alien world around us. . .

That bee, on the picture, did not get there by flying blindly into a thorn. Such deed is utterly impossible - do to the bees' minuscule weight and lack of speed/force for sufficient impact needed.
This deed would also require a very precise placement, or aiming, if you will, so the bee would not slide/glance off/ricochet, etc, etc...

I would sugest, if one goes about and "look see," one would be surprised to find more of the same. . .




[QUOTE:
but I would think the bee would see this as they move so fast. It was about 30 meters (100 feet) away from the hive and if I recall correctly she was headed away from it.[/QUOTE]

Cactii
12-16-2009, 06:57 PM
Wow man, are you saying that you and your neighbour saw this bee flying away from the hive when she got impelled..?

No I'm not. I wish though, it would have been quite a sight.

I'm not sure about the predator thing sticking her onto the thorn either because of the way she looks. She doesn't look stressed and her stinger is not drawn out at all.

I'll never know for sure.

Josh Carmack
12-16-2009, 09:00 PM
The laws of physics would most likely prevent this. I have forgotten the weight of the Honey bee, but if you take the mathematics, and work them out, you'll find that the velocity needed to peirce the insect carapace will double, triple, or be many multiples of the maximum velocity ever recorded for the EHB. Remeber, insects have exoskeletons. Volume being cubed, one can see that the velocity needed would increase logarithmically with the decrease in size of an object. While a human could rather easily impale themselves it becomes exponentially harder the smaller the animal gets. IF a bee were able to impale itself, then it also goes to reason that they should also be dropping like flies by flying into windows etc.

The predatory bird theory wins in my book.

Cactii
12-16-2009, 09:15 PM
The laws of physics would most likely prevent this. I have forgotten the weight of the Honey bee, but if you take the mathematics, and work them out, you'll find that the velocity needed to peirce the insect carapace will double, triple, or be many multiples of the maximum velocity ever recorded for the EHB. Remeber, insects have exoskeletons. Volume being cubed, one can see that the velocity needed would increase logarithmically with the decrease in size of an object. While a human could rather easily impale themselves it becomes exponentially harder the smaller the animal gets. IF a bee were able to impale itself, then it also goes to reason that they should also be dropping like flies by flying into windows etc.

The predatory bird theory wins in my book.

Lots of references to physics and math in this thread but no numbers! Most likely, maybe and perhaps don't cut it in either the math or physics worlds.

As I mentioned previously the thorn pierced through her eye and then the back of her head so it didn't actually go through her carapace.

If anybody who has mentioned math and physics would like to back up their data as did BEES4U and Oldbee did with theirs I'd like to see it.

The mystery continues.

Oldbee
12-17-2009, 05:01 PM
The average weight of a feather from a Bald Eagle is 98 milligrams.

A honey bee weighs 90 to 100 milligrams. Drones and queens weigh more.

Bee flight speed is 8 to 10 miles per hour. I don't know about the "physics" of all that and if the bee could have impaled itself,.:). Maybe that particular bee was blind in one eye,.. or two,.. or three,..:D. I have seen photos of drones with off color eyes that may be blind.

There are other photos on the internet of insects impaled on barbed wire or thorns. Comments on some almost always refer to "shrikes" as a possible/most likely explanation. If you could identify a shrike in the area at some time, that would help. They aren't very common though.

I will be looking more closely at thorny plants from now on, that's for sure. :D.

Oldbee
12-19-2009, 07:35 AM
Another thought about that poor bee,..:rolleyes:.

In that area of the country, the Sonora; dust devils are quite common. I read that they are as common as tumble weeds at the right time of year. They are like mini-tornados. We have them here rarely; usually on a hot spring day. Don't know the speed of the winds right now, but fast enough; 30-50 MPH? Maybe that bee was dashed into that thorn by a dust devil,.? :scratch:

Research on dust devils has been done by NASA [Space Science] near the Sonoran desert, because of the dust devils seen on Mars.

Some [or most] photos of bees [and even birds] show they have been impaled on the thorns of cactus plants.

Cactii
12-19-2009, 06:03 PM
Well that is very plausible OldBee, I think that's the best explanation so far!

walking bird
12-19-2009, 08:03 PM
I think the bee was depressed. She knew she'd never be queen, no drone would ever love her, and her days were numbered. This was the quick way out.