Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 124

Thread: Honeybee Swarms

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    141

    Post

    I am going to post here a message on honeybee-swarms, that I actually want to see posted on BeeSource P.O.V. list, which is "more sophisticated", I mean only in terms of dealing with scientific issues.

    I sent the message to Barry, for his evaluation. However, since I now realize, I have to wait for him to come back from his Honeymoon, to even look at the message, I decided to post it here, in the meantime. Couldn't do any harm. But I don't want to become involved in any endless debates about it. So, anyone who has reservations, or points of criticism, about this post, is welcome to express them. But, I do not intend to respond.

    Also, for some reason, the message came out in fonts of different sizes. I do not know how to fix that. So I shall leave it "as is". Here is the message:
    ------------------------------------
    Note a very recent publication in ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 2006, 71, 161–171 doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.04.009
    How does an informed minority of scouts guide a honeybee swarm as it flies to its new home?

    MADELEINE BEEKMAN, ROBERT L. FATHKE & THOMAS D. SEELEY.

    The authors posed the question of how the swarm knows in which direction to fly, when only 5% of the bees, i.e. the nest-scouts who had visited the new nest-site know where it is? The study used man-made swarms, and prospective nest-sites in the form of small wooden-hives, baited with one empty (apparently used) comb, and a lure made of the major components of Nasanov-glands secretion. The authors tested the vision hypothesis, (the possibility that the scouts visually guide the swarm in the right direction by fast streaking through the swarm, actually in the upper part of the swarm), vs the olfactory hypothesis (the possibility that the scouts guide the swarm by emitting odors from the 2 Nasanov-glands on their abdomen, so that this results in an odor-gradient in the direction of the new nest-site). To test the olfactory hypothesis the authors used swarms where all the bees had the openings to their Nasanov-glands sealed. The study showed that the treatment did not interfere with the ability of the swarm to fly quickly and directly to the new nest, compared to control-swarms with unsealed glands.

    It is well-known that the scouts expose their Nasanov-glands once the swarm reaches the new nest-site, and that the odors from the exposed glands aid the swarm in entering the new nest. The results of the study, however, led the authors to discard the olfactory hypothesis, as far as guiding the swarm in flight is concerned. The vision hypothesis also poses problems, because the "streakers" streak in the direction of the new nest (for stretches of about 30 mm.), at a speed of about 10 m. per second, which is the fastest speed a swarm in flight achieve . The swarm achieves this maximum speed only gradually, but the "streakers" do not increase their streaking speed; which means that they do not fly faster than other bees in the swarm, once the swarm achieves maximal speed, so how could the streaking guide the swarm, when the swarm has already achieved maximum speed?

    The authors are, therefore, still faced with a mystery. There is, however, a very simple solution to the problem, because the authors, which the authors were unable to find because they failed to pose the right wedded to the honeybee "dance language" (DL) hypothesis. This is not surprising at all, since the
    senior author, Thomas Seeley, has been known for years as a staunch DL supporter.

    The first one to discover that nest-scouts dance in the swarm, and to study their behavior, and the behavior of the swarm, was Martin LIndauer, v. Frisch's best known former student and collaborators, and his work is, indeed, cited by the authors. LIndauer has naturally been a staunch DL supporter. V. Frisch took it for granted that food-foragers decide when to dance, depending on the quality of the food, and the need for food in the colony. He knew that foragers never dance in the absence of dance-attendants, but assumed that the foragers know ("instinctively", or otherwise), that they should not waste time and energy to dance unless they have an audience prepared to receive the spatial information contained in the dances, about the site visited by the foragers. (See v. Frisch's 1967 book.)


    By the same token, Lindauer naturally took it for granted that nest-scouts also decide when to dance, depending on the quality of the prospective nest they found, and that other swarm-mates who attend scouts'-dances then find the site by using the spatial information contained in the dances. The swarm may have different groups of bees, where each group "advertises" a different site in dances. But eventually all dancing scouts end up advertising one and the same site, apparently the best site found by any of the scouts.

    Seeley, T. D. l(1977). Measurement of nest cavity volume by the
    honeybee ( Apis mellifera ). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 2:201–227

    Seeley TD, Buhrman SC (1999) Group decision making in swarms, eventually studied how nest-scouts evaluate the size of the cavity they find.

    He used apparently wooden, cylindrical boxes of various sizes, and found out that when a nest-scout enters such a box, it crawls around the circumference of the base, and that the scouts tended to dance more often for his boxes that had a longer circumference of the base (which meant also larger base, and a larger volume of the cavity).

    He concluded that the scouts decide whether to dance, or not, based on their assessment of the volume of the cavity, and that they determine the volume of the cavity by determining the area of the base, which they achieve be measuring the circumference of the base.

    To determine the length of that circumference by crawling along its length, requires a counting ability. There is, however, no evidence, and , therefore, no reason to believe that honeybees can count at all.

    Apart from that, as I pointed out in ABJ (2000), vol. 140(1), Jan. pp. 12-13, the size of an area cannot be determined from the length of its margins. The size of the area enclosed within margins of a specific length is maximal, when the area is round, but may also be very small, as long as it leaves a honeybee enough room to crawl around the margins. Natural cavities, of course, do not occur in the form of perfect cylinders, let alone perfect cylinders of the same height as that used by Seeley..

    I also pointed out that nest-scouts would not stand a chance of finding the few natural cavities (in the trunk of a tree in the woods), that are appropriate for a nest, if they were to simply examine just any tiny hole out of the myriad of tiny holes that exist in their natural environment. The scouts must, therefore, be attracted to specific tiny holes, by the odors those holes have, which the holes share with odors the scouts had learned to associate with a nest. In nature such cavities, often resulting from a lighting-strike, have the odors of "wounded" wood. Seeley's cylinders probably attracted the scouts by wood-odors. Then, if the base had a longer circumference, the scouts , naturally, took longer to crawl along the circumference, which would have resulted in their spending a longer period of time inside the cylinder, and, thus, adsorbing onto their bodies a higher concentration of the attractive odors in the cylinder.

    Other factors, such as alien odors which repel the scouts, temperature and light-intensity, winds, inside the cavity, undoubtedly also play a role in the amount of time nest-scouts spend inside a cavity they find. .V. Frisch (in his 1967 book,) had, however, already noted that odors may play a role in attracting nest-scouts. But Seeley completely ignored that.

    Honeybees (whether foragers, or nest-scouts), never decide whether to dance, or not. The dance results from an escape by bees carrying attractive odors, from hive-mates, or swarm-mates, who chase after them, after being attracted by the odors such bees carry. In the case of successful nest-scouts, some swarm-mates are attracted by the odors the scouts carry on their bodies, from the cavity they found; which are the odors that attracted the scouts to the cavity in the first place. Some of the dance-attendants then find the same cavity, but they do so by use of odor alone all along. The odors they carry back to the swarm then attract other swarm-mates, and the new bees that found the cavity, thus, become additional scouts that "advertise" that cavity.. Swarm bees very gradually come to prefer the scouts that carry more attractive odors. The scouts that carry less attractive odors are, thus, not chased any more, and, therefore, do not dance either. They may themselves be attracted by the odors carried by the scouts that bring back to the swarm more attractive odors, and eventually find the cavity visited by the scouts that bring in the most attractive odors. This is how a "consensus" is reached, where there is only one large group of nest-scouts, all advertising one and the same cavity.

    Bees in a swarm are attracted visually, as well as by odors, to other swarm-mates, as well as to odors from the queen (which most of them cannot see). This is how the swarm keeps together. Swarm bees are, however, also attracted by the odors nest-scouts carry on their bodies.

    It is these odors, which are adsorbed onto the scouts' bodies, and gradually wash off as the scouts fly with the swarm, that create the odor-gradient that leads swarm-bees in the direction of the cavity. The scouts expose their Nasanov -glands only after they land at the entrance to the cavity. I have never seen any report by anyone who saw them expose those glands while flying with the swarm. The scouts attract swarm-mates only by the odors adsorbed onto their bodies, and sealing the Nasanov-glands of all the bees in the swarm, therefore, should not have any effect on the swarm's-flight to the new nest; as the study showed.

    The authors knew they had deliberately used in their prospective nests odors that attract nest-scouts. However, the possibility that such odors, that adsorb onto the bodies of scouts that visit such a prospective nest, are the odors that also attract swarm-mates, which results in the dances of nest-scouts, and then, when there is a large enough number of scouts which all carry the same attractive odors, which suffice to attract the whole swarm to fly with them, has never occurred to the authors. The olfactory hypothesis needs to be rejected only in the version the authors tested, which depends on odors emitted by the scouts' Nasanov-glands. Other than that, an olfactory hypothesis which depends on odors from the cavity, that are adsorbed onto the scouts'-bodies, appears to be a very simple solution, and the only proper solution to the problem.

    The case only goes to show ever new trouble that is caused by the belief that honeybees have a DL!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina
    Posts
    1,443

    Post

    if queens pipe why cant scouts?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    141

    Post

    No one ever heard scouts piping.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Oceano, California, USA
    Posts
    467

    Post

    "because the "streakers" streak in the direction of the new nest (for stretches of about 30 mm."

    Surely that's a typo?

    I enjoyed your critique. It helps explain why swarm removal can be such a pain when you can't or neglect to seal off the cavity you remove them from in someones house. The bees smell the old wax, propolis etc.. and naturally that's very attractive to the new swarm, so every year you can get one going to the same place.

    When you have a bunch of old hives around, the swarms don't go (usually) to those which died of foul brood. You can have two hives standing side by side and if one smells like FB or insecticide and the other just like a natural dead out or a sticky super etc.. they go to the one without the bad smell of chemical or disease even though both boxes are of the same dimensions.

    Also, even though one may be totally dark in side they still chose the one that smells right, so you can rule out sight. Smell is the only thing that makes sense.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,791

    Post

    "In nature such cavities, often resulting from a lighting-strike, have the odors of "wounded" wood. Seeley's cylinders probably attracted the scouts by wood-odors." -Ruth Rosin

    I assume, then, that bees carry some heritable trait that makes these particular "wood odors" attractive to the bees? Otherwise, scouts don't live long enough to learn and remember such things, and I know for a fact that none of my hives have so far been struck by lightning, so they couldn't "remember" it from the current hive.

    I'd also have to assume that AHB (Africanized honey bees) must lack this trait. I've read repeatedly that swarms of AHB will often take up residence underground, espeically in water meter pits. Water meter pits don't have wood in them, so no "wood odors" are attracting them. How could they locate and disseminate odors to entice swarms to move into these meter pits?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Oceano, California, USA
    Posts
    467

    Post

    I assume, then, that bees carry some heritable trait that makes these particular "wood odors" attractive to the bees? Otherwise, scouts don't live long enough to learn and remember such things, and I know for a fact that none of my hives have so far been struck by lightning, so they couldn't "remember" it from the current hive.

    Water meter pits don't have wood in them, so no "wood odors" are attracting them. How could they locate and disseminate odors to entice swarms to move into these meter pits?
    You would do well to get someone with a grade school education to proof your posts before you click the "add reply" button. Or at least as questions in a way that makes people honestly want to answer them rather that respond to your simplistic provocations. To say

    I'd also have to assume that AHB (Africanized honey bees) must lack this trait. I've read repeatedly that swarms of AHB will often take up residence underground, espeically in water meter pits.
    is foolish beyond belief. How many water boxes do you think there are in the native ranges of AHB? I've taken them out of several types of places in Africa from old aardvark holes to between two studs in my own garage. Why on earth would you assume that A. m. Scutellata doesn't nest in tree cavities in nature? They do, of course, and also in caves, on grape vines, under roofs and in fallen logs. Nobody ever said that wood odors were the ONLY scent that was attractive to scouts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,081

    Post

    Wow!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Oceano, California, USA
    Posts
    467

    Post

    OK, go tattle like last time if that's in line with your sense of male honor.

    But in defence, Kieck wasn't trying to add anything to an interesting subject. He clearly was engaged in provocation. I pointed out, probably more harshly than was proper, but I don't want people with valuable information to run away in frustration as happens all too often.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    Hmm, spring seems to be coming early this year.

    Jejune is busting out all over.

    (With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,791

    Post

    I'll admit to some degree that my first paragraph is simplisitic, and probably more of a provocation than I'd intended after rereading it. But seriously, a "grade school education?" So, I'll try to reword it so it's less of a provocation and more of a question.

    Do bees have a genetic preference for certain odors in potential hives other than scents associated with past residence by honey bees? Have any studies confirmed a preference for particular "wounded wood" odors?

    Seems to me that such a study would have tremendous application for beekeepers attempting to trap swarms. If, for instance, bees do have a genetic predisposition to settle in wood stuck by lightning, beekeepers could "zap" their swarm traps with high voltage to simulate the odors.

    As far as the second part, I'll agree that it's provocative, but not foolish. You state, Tim, right after quoting my assumption, that water meter pits aren't common in the native ranges of A. m. scutellata, so those bees clearly could not have a genetic predisposition to the smells associated with meter pits. You also point out that AHB and A. m. scutellata nest in places ranging from old aardvark holes to cavities in wood. So, let me ask again, what "scents" are distinctive about water meter pits or culverts that can distiguish them from other holes in the ground? The swarms have to "follow" the scouts somehow or other to those locations; how do they wind up in cavities large enough for them, rather than, say, smaller cavities very close to their chosen sites?

    At the risk of asking another "grade-school" level question, how do the bees -- using scent alone -- distinguish cavities suitable for nest sites from cavities (maybe even in the same individual tree) that are too small?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    San Francisco Eastbay, CA
    Posts
    203

    Post

    Tim,

    I also lived in various countries in Southern Africa and saw the African bee in many of the same settings you spoke about.

    We even found them down mine shafts.

    BTW where did you live in SA.

    I think this is a great topic and should not be openly dismissed due to past interactions with Rosinbo.


    Regards,

    Kieran
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,494

    Post

    Perhaps I have no right or standing ion saying this but, Tim Vaughn wants people to be less symplistic and foolish beyond belief. And then severerly critisises someone. What's with the hostility, all of the time? Is this just your personality? Do find it hard to suffer simplistic questions?

    "I don't want people with valuable information to run away in frustration as happens all to often."
    Tim Vaughn says.

    So, Tim, those with questions that might not come up to your standards, should forget it or keep thier mouths shut?

    If you thought that you were helping "prickly pear", seems to me that she can defend herself and hasn't been discouraged from presenting her views and statements.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina
    Posts
    1,443

    Post

    "No one ever heard scouts piping.

    --------------------
    Sincerely
    Ruth Rosin ("Prickly pear")"

    has anyone listened?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    San Francisco Eastbay, CA
    Posts
    203

    Post

    FordGuy, do you mean boy scouts? [img]smile.gif[/img]
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina
    Posts
    1,443

    Post

    Mr. Vaughan wrote: "You would do well to get someone with a grade school education to proof your posts before you click the "add reply" button. Or at least AS questions in a way that makes people honestly want to answer them .....

    AS questions? Oh the irony. I guess if you folks get someone with more than a grade school education, he could help Mr. Vaughan with his spelling also.

    What is the point is calling his ideas foolish or casting such insults in this kind of forum? if you think he is stupid, why not just call him and tell him, (or go see him and slug it out, which would be my preference) instead of smearing all of us with your bad attitude. I don't have a dog in this fight, and I certainly don't care much for grammar police, but just remember if you are going to go around throwing stones just make darn sure you don't live in a glass house. You could always start your own website where people as smart as you and agree with all your ideas, and don't have any contrary ideas, are allowed in. If you think his ideas are dumb, wait till you have heard some of mine! (But I was one of the folks that thought a long time ago airplanes full of fuel could be used as missiles....) no failure of imagination here!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,791

    Post

    Wenner published information about the sounds that returning scouts make when they return to the hive. Those sounds aren't necessarily the same as piping by queens, but they are still unique sounds. Wenner pointed out that the variation in the durations of the sounds was too great to accurately convey distance information, but the sounds may still play a role in recruiting other foragers.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina
    Posts
    1,443

    Post

    I'd love to read this study - where could I see it?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    San Francisco Eastbay, CA
    Posts
    203

    Post

    Kieck,

    Do you know if these sounds were recorded and posted on the internet? I would be interested in hearing them.

    Fordguy, I am glad no one is checking my grammar because it stinks. I suggest when people get ticked of with someone they PM them.

    Kieran
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,791

    Post

    I've seen two papers by Wenner about sound production by returning scouts:

    Wenner, A. M. 1959. "The relationship of sound production during the waggle dance of the honey bee to the distance of the food source." Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America, volume 5, page 142.

    Wenner, A. M. 1962. "Sound production during the waggle dance of the honey bee." Animal Behavior, volume 10, pages 79-95.

    (If you're having trouble finding copies of these papers, PM me. I'll try to help you out.)

    I don't know of any recordings on the internet -- there could easily be some, and I just don't know about them. I'd recommend finding a "dancing" bee in a hive, watching it, and listening to the sound it makes while dancing. The sound is quite distinctive.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    &gt; The sound is quite distinctive.

    And it takes a pretty good microphone and
    recorder to capture it. 150Hz to 250Hz is
    the band that I try to enhance, repressing
    all other frequency bands to zero to cut out
    the confusion of overlapping sounds.

    Some folks have used mechanical vibration
    sensors (accelerometers) which they attach
    to or embed in the comb, but this is often
    a weaker signal than the audio, and requires
    an analog to digital converter to convert to
    a useful expression of frequency without all
    that mucking about with doing Fourier
    transformaions "by hand".

Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads