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Thread: Honeybee Swarms

  1. #61
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    My goodness! I believe you're reading words into my posts that I never put into my sentences. For instance, I never said, "bees of Apis species that nest in the open ALWAYS [emphasis mine] orient their dances horizontally." I know I did not throw the word "always" into my statement, simply because I knew that some individuals might "dance" on vertical planes or on planes at other angles. I would NOT say, either, that members of A. mellifera "always" dance on a vertical plane.

    But bees of species that typically build exposed combs usually "dance" on a roughly horizontal plane. Bees of species (A. mellifera and A. cerana) that typically build comb in cavities usually "dance" on a roughly vertical plane. That much has been documented many, many times, and it's simply that -- nothing more said about the purpose or the reasons for the "dances," just that they occur and the orientation of these "dances" changes based on the exposure of the comb.

    Similarly, I did not write that "A. mellifera & cerana are. . . unique in the ability to change from direction in relation to light to direction in relation to gravity." Instead, I wrote that the two species are "fairly" unique in their conversion from light to gravity. I don't know of any other species of Apis that shows a similar replacement, do you? Doesn't that make them unique in the genus?

    Also, you've repeatedly said that beetles also switch from one to the other. I've looked, but I haven't been able to find similar behavior documented for beetles, particularly behavior in which individuals orient in relation to the position of the sun, then "replay" that orientation but substitute gravity for the position of the sun. Which beetles use this behavior, and in what sorts of circumstances?

    Finally, please note that I did not say that the switch from sun to gravity was the explanation for the dance language, or that the behaviors you listed as explanations for the "dances" of bees were in fact evolutionary steps in the development of a dance language. I wrote that the series of behaviors have been hypothesised as possible evolutionary steps in the development of a "dance language." Hypothesised, not given as evidence. There is a difference.

    But I digress. Now, how could bees originating from a wooden hive determine that a water meter (or a similar cavity of completely different consistency that their wooden cavity) would make a suitable hive? And, how would the scents brought back to a swarm on a scout that initially found a water meter differ from other "earth" scents in the area around the water meter?

  2. #62
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    [size="1"][ February 28, 2006, 12:22 PM: Message edited by: sqkcrk ][/size]
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  3. #63
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    Mark, we like Ruth, she's turning out to be quite and interesting poster and besides, aren't you supposed to be in SC???!!!

  4. #64
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    To Kieck,

    The transposition "from light to gravity" & vice versa, has to do with a directional source of light; sun, or no sun. I said the behavior was first discovered a beetle. I urged you to look it up in v. Frisch's 1967 book. You should have had the decency to do just that, instead of pestering me with silly comments about it.

    When foragers of A. cerana dance on an incline plane, they too are affected by that "transposition".

    You say you were referring to a hypothetical evolution of a hypothetical DL? I said over and over again that, as far as I am concerned, the DL hypothesis was stillborn more than 80 years ago. So, just, stop pestering me about it!

    I do not know what odors might attract nest-scouts to a meter-box , but the scouts learned that a home-nest has a narrow opening, so they inspect sources of attractive odors that have a narrow opening. The ground around the box does not have narrow openings, and does not necessarily have the same odors as the ground inside the box. Swarm-mates are attracted by the same odors that attracted the nest-scouts, and that become adsorbed onto the scouts' body-hair, as a result of spending time in the cavity.

    I said I will not respond to any further comments, or questions from you, and this time I intend to stick to that decision.

  5. #65
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    all this debate makes me feel like I am home again...

    but I left home to live here at Beesource.

    and yeah, I thought you were coming to SC to buy me some BBQ?

  6. #66
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    [size="1"][ February 28, 2006, 12:25 PM: Message edited by: sqkcrk ][/size]
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  7. #67
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    All this talk about BBQ is making me hungry [img]tongue.gif[/img]

    Ruth,
    Last year I removed bee colonies from the following "cavities":
    1) Combs hanging from the underside of a large oak tree limb;
    2) Trapped out of a double brick wall (brick-concrete block-brick layers);
    3) Combs hanging from the rafters in a large house attic (a "cavity" of hundreds of cubic yards);
    4) An all metal mail box.
    I also heard of bee removals from an old abandoned VW beetle, from a large tractor/truck tire. None of these colony locations had anything in common in terms of odor, material, height, entrance size, cavity size or shape.
    Clearly, bees are very adaptable to environmental conditions. The only consistent nest location criteria seem to be dry and defensible (although the open tree comb nest belies this I believe the bees were making the best out of their bad situation).
    Triangle Bees

  8. #68
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    To Ruth,

    "The transposition "from light to gravity" & vice versa, has to do with a directional source of light; sun, or no sun. I said the behavior was first discovered a beetle. I urged you to look it up in v. Frisch's 1967 book. You should have had the decency to do just that, instead of pestering me with silly comments about it." -Ruth Rosin

    Sorry. I've tried. I did some more looking in von Frisch's 1967 book today. I can't find any example of a beetle that navigates by the position of the sun, then "replays" that method of navigation while substituting gravity for the position of the sun. I can't find anything along the same lines, except replacing "sun" with "directional light" either. I CAN find references to using two methods of orientation (light and gravity) at different times, but nothing in which one is substituted for the other during a "replay." Help me out here -- where in the book is the reference to this example that I've asked about? I know you've told me a few times that such an example is in the book, but I can't seem to find it.

  9. #69
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    To Kieck,

    Look up Geotrupes, which is the genus of the beetle in question. The "transposition" has nothing to do with "raplays". It occurs even without any "replays". It occurs in ants, and it occurs in honeybees also outside te dance!

  10. #70
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    To db_land,

    Very interesting information. And I do not question at least that to which you yourself testify. The rafters at least had wood-odors.

    As I said, I know that a swarm which is obliged to stay for a while where it rested, that would have regular;y been only a temporary resting site, often start building a comb. And I can easily imagine that if the scouts can not find a proper cavity for a nest, the swarm will stay where it landed, and build more combs, until the inner combs become pretty well protected by the outer ones, and the whole construction adsorbs colony odors, and the bees accept it as a nest.

    I assume that not all swarms succeed in finding an unoccupied cavity that is proper for a nest, in the trunk of a tree. What the scouts will then do, I do not know. Maybe with the passage of time the scouts lose memory of the odors they had learned to associate with the home-nest, and start inspecting just any hole that lead to a space without such odors. I am definitely doing nothing other than CONJECTURING here. No one has ever even begun to investigate the issue, let alone investigate it thoroughly.

  11. #71
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    Yet another long, hectoring exercise in unexamined
    unoriginalism...

    OK, by the numbers, swarm traps made from molded
    pressed paper are commonly used in experiments,
    and they (when not "baited" with any sort of
    "swarm lure") certainly don't smell different,
    let alone like ANYTHING with which a bee might be
    familiar. Studies have shown over and over again
    that cavity size is the primary criteria by which
    scouts pick a new hive location for a swarm, and
    odors (if any are used to tempt the bees) have
    little or nothing to do with it. Sure, swarm
    lures can HELP, but nothing will help a too-large
    or too-small cavity.

  12. #72
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    To Kieck,

    Let's make one thing clear: The dance is not a "replay" of the foragers' flight from the hive to its feeder, as you assume, nor a miniaturization of that flight (as O'Dea from Australia assumed in print, years ago), and neither your groundless assumption, or O'Dea's groundless assumption, can make the dance become what you assume it to be.

    When the dance is performed out in the open on the horizontal landing platform in front of the hive-opening, the waggle-run may SEEM to be pointing towards the food. But the direction is simply a compensation for the after-effects of the flight on the foragers'-eyes, and it is directed in the direction of the REVERSE of the forager's flight from the food back to the hive; which normally coincides with the direction to the food. The after-effects on the eyes, of the flight to the food, have long disappeared by then. The speed of the dance, which affects the duration of the waggle-run (greater dancing-speed, faster turn in, and out of the waggle-run, which means shorter waggle-run), does not depend on the forager's flight to the food. It does depend on the expenditure of energy during flight, as v. Frisch concluded, but not at all the way v. Frisch concluded that dependence to be. Under the most common experimental situation (feeder, not extraordinarily far from the hive, filled with enough sugar-solution to enable many foragers to repeatedly fill their honey-sacs there for a couple of hours), the foragers rest while feeding at the feeder, and also "refuel" (renew their energy resources), there. All the after-effects of the flight from the hive to the food, in terms of physiological exhaustion, and depletion of energy, therefore, completely disappear by the time the forager prepares to fly back to the hive, and distance-indication in the dance depends only on the forager's flight from the food back to the hive; which is what Khalifman (1950) claimed in Pchelovodstvo. This means that when the foragers carry a heavy load, like pollen, that can weigh almost as much as the bees own body-weight, the distance they indicate in their dances is very misleading for recruits, who need to fly unloaded from the hive to the food. Never mind that it is misleading, even merely due to the fact that, in fairly constant wind-conditions, when the forager flies back to the hive, it flies in a wind that has exactly the reverse direction in relation to the direction of the flight, than it is expected to have for a recruit that needs to fly in the opposite direction.

    Incidentally, when the foragers feed at the feeder, each one of them may face in a different direction. But the effects of the after-effects on the foragers'-eyes due to the direction they face during feeding, disappear long before they return to the hive, as do the earlier after-effects on the eyes of the flight to the food.

    All these problems pose very serious difficulties for DL supporters. They pose no difficulties whatsoever for honeybee-recruits, simply because there has never been any valid experimental confirmation for the claim that recruits use any distance & direction information contained in foragers'-dances; and, there has been, instead, only very strong experimental confirmation, coming from many different directions, against any such claim.

    What more do you need?

    Enough is enough! Sorry, but I do not want to hear anything more about any problems with which YOU may still be struggling, regarding the DL hypothesis, or honeybee-dances, after you make utterly groundless assumptions, and then draw utterly groundless conclusions based on your utterly groundless assumptions!

  13. #73
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    Hi to All those interested,

    I repeatedly stated that there is no doubt in my mind that (contrary to the belief of DL supporters), honeybees never decide when to dance. The dance results only as bees try to escape from nest-mates, or swarm-mates, who chase after those bees, because they are attracted by odors those bees are carrying.

    I think I need to explain that my statement is not based on any arbitrary whim, but on well known experimental data that can not be explained otherwise. I think v. Frisch was the first one to carry out such experiments.

    At any rate, you train two groups of foragers (with the same number of bees in each group), each to a different feeder with the same food-odor, but at a different site (in a regular environment, at about the same distance from the hive, with wind-direction not giving preference to either feeder). As long as the sugar-concentration in both feeders is identical, foragers from both groups dance at about the same frequency. However, if you now decrease the concentration of sugar in one feeder, and increase it in the other feeder (each group of foragers continues to forage at its own feeder, as before), but the foragers that now bring in food of poorer quality, dance less often than before, and the foragers that bring in richer food, now dance more often than before. And you can easily reverse the situation, by reversing the concentration of sugar at the two feeders.

    The foragers in one group have no way of knowing whether the food they carry is richer, or poorer than the food carried by foragers from the other group. The effect can only be explained if both groups of foragers carry the same food-odor, but different natural locale-odors; which honeybees, with their exceptionally high sensitivity to odors, can easily sense.

    It is dance-attendants in the hive, who received food from dancers of both groups (and might have left the hive after each dance-attendance, found nothing, and returned to the hive to attend another dance), who quickly learn which combination of the identical food-odor and the specific natural locale-odors, is associated with foragers that bring in richer food. Potential dance-attendants, thus begin to chase more often after the foragers whose odor-combination has become more attractive to those potential dance-attendants.

    This, then, increases the frequency of dancing of the foragers that bring in richer food, and decreases the frequency of dancing of the foragers that bring in poorer food.

  14. #74
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    Two more points about swarms:

    1. According to Wenner's ABJ article about honeybee-swarms, swarms of Africanized honeybees may even invade a nest occupied by another honeybee colony, stay there for a while, and then leave.

    2. I stated that no one knows what nest-scouts do, and how they behave if they are unable to find a cavity suitable for a nest in the trunk of a tree.

    This may, however, be related to the problem concerning food-scouts. It is well-known that when food is needed in the hive, but the foragers cannot find anymore food-bearing flowers of the species on which they foraged, and there are no other groups of foragers in the hive, who are foraging on flowers of different species, to recruit them to those flowers, the foragers start scouting for food. As a result, they may find new food-bearing flowers, on which bees in that colony had never foraged before. No one knows how the scouts do that, and what might attract them. And no one even attempted to study that, because it is going to be very difficult to investigate.

  15. #75
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    "But the direction is simply a compensation for the after-effects of the flight on the foragers'-eyes, and it is directed in the direction of the REVERSE of the forager's flight from the food back to the hive; which normally coincides with the direction to the food." -Ruth Rosin

    Interesting. Do you know, then, whether bees express this compensation when they arrive at the resources? Do they turn back toward the hive (or the direction from which they arrived) to compensate for the after-effects of the flight?

    And, even granting that "dances" are not miniaturizations of the actual flights, how does substituting gravity for light compensate for the after-effects of the flight when bees "dance" inside hives?

    The way I read the whole controversy (not just scouts leading swarms, but the whole "dance language" debate), fervent opponents of a "dance language" claim that honey bees can locate food by odor alone. The arguments are compelling; bees seem to be able to locate resources by odor alone. (But I assumed that before I ever began reading the arguments presented by opponents of dance-language hypotheses.) The question, in my mind, remains: do honey bees ONLY find food by odor? What about color or vision? Could they be using some other form of communication?

    Opponents of a dance language also point out the numerous ad hoc hypotheses that have been added to von Frisch's original hypothesis to make it work. They point out (rightly so, perhaps) that we need to accept the simplest explanation for any situation (parsimony, Morgan's Canon, Occam's Razor, whatever you wish to call it), and clearly all the ad hoc hypotheses violate parsimony.

    But at the same time, opponents of a dance language present various ad hoc hypotheses to explain away all versions of dance-language hypotheses. These conjectures are just as numerous as the ad hoc hypotheses presented by supporters of dance-language hypotheses.

    And, "odor hypotheses" still do not serve as the null hypotheses in experiments testing "dance-language hypotheses." A real test of a dance-language hypothesis would set up a null hypothesis (honey bees do not use a "dance language") and an alternate hypothesis (honey bees use a "dance language").

    "What more do you need?" -Ruth Rosin

    Data! Not from a "dance-language supporter," not from a "dance-language opponent," just real, solid data. If you want me to believe something, give me some solid evidence (not just arguments). If you want me to disbelieve something, give me some solid evidence directly contradicting the original belief.

  16. #76
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    >Data! Not from a "dance-language supporter," not from a "dance-language opponent," just real, solid data.

    Yep - nail on the head. Trouble is, you may as well ask a Jehovah's Witness for evidence that the Bible is true. When it's a matter of religion (which it seems to be with PP) you ain't gonna get any closer to the truth - just be bombarded with more unfounded assertions. It's just not worth the effort, IMO.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  17. #77
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    To Kieck,

    [edit by admin]

    You know perfectly well that when trained foragers fly to their feeder, or to flowers of the species on which they forage, or when guard-bees fly at you and try to sting you, they do not turn around every now and then in order to "compensate".

    You aught to know that when honeybees feed from a food-dish, each one faces in a different direction, because I pointed that out in a very recent post. But you cannot figure out from this, that such bees are, more often than not, trained foragers that all arrived at the dish from the direction of the hive. But they face in a direction that enables them to reach the food. And since such a bee can never occupy a position already occupied by another bee, it inevitably ends up reaching the food by facing in another direction than the other bee. Maybe you do not even know that food-dishes used in experiments are always round; which means that no two bees can feed there by facing in the same direction at one and the same time. Obviously, honeybees do not "compensate" for the after-effects of light on their eyes, when they need to do something else that is very specific. however, not "compensate" when they need to do something else that is very specific.

    Before you presume to deal with the behavior of honeybee-recruits, you aught to know that there is more than enough evidence that they know nothing about any visual properties of any source visited by the foragers. It takes an incredible combination [edit by admin] to presume to deal with any scientific issue without first studying everything that is already known about it.

    You believe you understand the Law of Parsimony, and you even presume to use it, when you obviously understand nothing about it. The Law of Parsimony requires you to accept the simplest explanation that suffices to explain the data. This means, to avoid even bothering with more complex explanation, when you already have a simpler sufficient explanation.

    You know that flying insects in general find sources of attractive odors in the field by use of odor alone all along. You know that honeybees can use odor alone all along to find sources of attractive odors in the field, even when they can have no information about the location of any such sources. This is how nest-scouts find prospective nest-sites. And we know that they carry from such a site, on their bodies, back to the swarm the odors that attracted them to that site in the first place, and therefore are also attractive to swarm-mates. I explained that honeybees do not decide when to dance, and that they dance only when trying to escape from other bees who chase after them because they carry odors that are attractive to those other bees.

    So there is no need to explain how honeybee-recruits find, in the field, food with their foragers' food-odor, to which the foragers are not flying, in any more complicated explanation, other than use of odor alone all along. This, in turn, should have led you to exclude any more complex explanation, based on other means of communication for which there isn't the slightest evidence. Nonetheless, you cannot get out of your mind the idea (for which there is no need, and no evidence), that recruits may use other means of communication? Why don't you consider the possibility that recruits are guided by invisible & inaudible tiny fairies, that reside under the foragers'-wings, and jump from under the wing, to attach themselves to dance-attendants, when the forager dances, and vibrates its wings during the waggle-run?

    [edit by admin]

    [size="1"][ February 23, 2006, 09:11 PM: Message edited by: Admin ][/size]

  18. #78
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    To Ruth,

    I don't see where I'm "losing links" in this chain of logical arguments.

    I'll start at the back, and work toward the front. Just reverse the "links" if you'd rather reason through it the other way around.

    Honey bees' "dances" indicate the direction of the resources because the bees are compensating for the after-effects of light. (This was/is your argument for the direction component of the "dances." I questioned how effects of gravity might compensate for the after effects of light, but I'll just leave that alone for the time being.)

    The compensation for the after-effects of light occurs because the bees are returning from relatively long flights. (Presumably, the bees feel some "need" to "zero out" the effects of light.)

    The flights back to the hive are away from resources.

    The resources are at some distance from the hive.

    The foragers/scouts had to fly to the resources in the first place.

    The position of the resources is relatively fixed; in other words, the flight to the resources was just as long as the flight from the resources to the hive.

    The "after-effects" of light would be the same, regardless of whether the bees are headed back toward the hive or away from the hive. How could they not be?

    Therefore, the bees should "compensate" for the "after-effects" of light when they reach resources, just as they would when they reach the hive.

    You said the bees do NOT need to "compensate" when they have something else specific to do. Wouldn't storing the nectar in cells be "specific?" What about avoiding the "chasing" bees? Why wouldn't these tasks overcome the need to "compensate" for the effects of light?

    "Why don't you consider the possibility that recruits are guided by invisible & inaudible tiny fairies, that reside under the foragers'-wings, and jump from under the wing, to attach themselves to dance-attendants, when the forager dances, and vibrates its wings during the waggle-run?" -Ruth Rosin

    Are you proposing this form of "communication?"

    Seriously, though, you don't know why I can't get it through my head that bees may use other means of communication? I'll try to make it clear -- I don't see using the "odor" hypothesis as the null hypothesis as a reliable method of testing!

    Besides that, what really eliminates the possibility that bees use other forms of communication than odor? To my thinking, bees may use multiple forms of communication, including or not a "dance language." Just the variety of sounds produced by bees at various times suggests that information is contained in the sounds. Now, can the bees successfully interpret those sounds? I don't know, but I won't rule it out at this time without some data.

  19. #79
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    FordGuy: Are you saying that the bee is using her feet to stamp out a vibrational signal(Morse bee code)?, they can't hear but they can pickup virbration(or vibration that is sound generated?).
    What are we, men or Beekeepers?

  20. #80
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    >>You simply never learned to think straight, and be able to keep in mind a long chain of logical arguments without losing links in the process.

    >>This is why I urged you to spend several years just solving problems in math & geometry, in order to learn to think logically, before you presume to dabble in science.

    Here we go insulting people again. Ruth cannot limit her discussions to opinion and facts about the topic at hand without resorting to personal insults. When will it stop?
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

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