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Thread: Honeybee Swarms

  1. #101
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    "Yup, Ruth has surfaced on BEE-L and is firing her torpedoes at the recent radar-tracking study."

    And her torpedoes are directly contradicted by Gavin. I need to see that paper - Gavin made it sound pertty darn cool.

    Anyone ahve a PDF they can email me?

    Keith
    Bee Sting Honey - So Good, It Hurts!

  2. #102
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    Drobbins has been able to get me a few papers from subscription based services. I'll ask him about this one.

    One link I found included the graphs showing the flight paths of the bees- not the whole paper, but more than the abstract. I'll see if I can find that link.

    Found it:

    http://acp.eugraph.com/news/news05/riley.html

    I've emailed Dave about the actual paper.

    [size="1"][ February 26, 2006, 11:41 AM: Message edited by: George Fergusson ][/size]
    Dulcius ex asperis

  3. #103
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    Here's the full text of the "letter" (not a full-blown paper, but irrelevant to laypeople)

    http://www.neurobiologie.fu-berlin.d...ature_2005.pdf

  4. #104
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    Danke.

    Keith
    Bee Sting Honey - So Good, It Hurts!

  5. #105

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    While everyone here is discussing their vocabulary, please email us your info if you wish to be listed on our beekeepers page for folks catching swarms. www.eBeeHoney.com

    Thanks,
    Becky

  6. #106
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    -----
    Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2006 09:42:32 -0700
    Reply-To: Informed Discussion of Beekeeping Issues and Bee Biology
    From: Jerry Bromenshenk


    Everyone has part of the concept right, but the full answer is not in --
    for some very good reasons.


    First, some background:

    I know Joe Riley, got DARPA to fly him over for a tracking workshop in TX,
    then had him up to MT. He has some interesting data. The best is the
    foraging data by larger bees wearing smaller (fragile) tags (i.e.,
    bumblebees). These bees were left to free forage -- no targets, syrup,
    etc. And the data shows things that one might expect -- bumblebees will
    follow topographic features such as a line left by mowing of fields/meadows.

    Much of the honey bee work was done with a bee carrying a number disc to
    which was ADDED a tracking chip and vertical antenna. The weight is
    significant, much less the aerodynamics of the whole things.

    We've also flown chips on bees. And we've tracked bees with lasers -- no
    chips at all.

    Bottom line, carrying a large device with a vertical OR trailing antenna is
    tricky -- we gave up on our own chips -- decided that the chips had too
    much effect on bee flight -- it limits their ability to turn, etc. And
    grabbing them to put the things on is EXTREMELY disruptive.

    So we now track bees without using anything attached to the bee.

    Our laser maps of bees searching for targets by odor can be seen online
    (Optics Express 13 5853). Look for all of the articles by Joe Shaw on the
    use of LIDAR and lasers.

    The LIDAR used in the published trials is big, expensive, and non-eye
    safe. It also can't distinguish one small moving thing from another -- a
    seed head on a blade of grass moving in the wind from a flying insect.

    We've now got new, far smaller, eye-safe systems that are being tested at
    the moment. These have two years of R&D in them already. They work -- and
    most importantly, the new systems see bees and ONLY bees. Anything else,
    small or large, moving or static does not appear in the imaging.

    We'll be field testing prototypes for commercialization this summer.

    In addition, we have several years of data that demonstrate that the
    sensitivity of the olfactory system of a bee is in the same ball park as
    that of a dog, and that there are many similarities. Both can generalize
    to a suite of related substances, when trained on a common component. Both
    can detect a broad array of chemicals -- for bees, its not just pheromones
    and floral scents. And, most importantly, NO ONE knows just how good the
    olfactory sensitivity of either the bee or the dog is. Why? Because we
    don't have instruments as good! We have to collect samples for long
    periods to get enough material for detection (often several minutes up to
    1/2 hr). The bees and dogs instantly recognize odors at the same levels.

    So, in the case of our Ft Leonard Wood trials, bees could find all
    explosives by searching for the odor of DNT, even though that wasn't the
    main ingredient of some of the things that were buried. MEASURED vapor
    levels directly ABOVE the buried landmine(s) were in the order of 5-15
    parts per trillion -- determined by collected 30 minute vapor samples -- so
    that's an average. Also, keep in mind, landmines don't have any reward AND
    our conditioning occurs at the hive, not in the field. I for one have no
    interest in strolling through mine fields to look for bees.

    Both our video and the lasers show bees locking on and tracking odor plume
    from these vapor sources from many yards away. That means, using even the
    most conservative plume models, that the bees were recognizing vapor trails
    in the parts per quadrillion or less.

    Now, if these huge numbers (actually incredibly small amounts, its the
    ratio of target odor to air volume that are so large) are hard to grasp, go
    to the MegaPenny Project Site for illustrations that put this into
    perspective http://www.kokogiak.com/megapenny/

    Ok, so we know bees can detect all kinds of odors at VERY LOW levels. Now,
    under an Army Contract to our private company, we've been working on bee
    behavioral responses to very low concentrations of potentially harmful
    chemicals (but we're working at concentrations below the lethal level to
    bees). The results have been amazing -- so much so that we've filed for
    patent. We've found that bees respond in LESS than 30 seconds to a large
    array (we're still working to find the limits) of chemicals. But, here's
    the reason we've gone to patenting. When exposed, in less than 30
    seconds, we get an ALARM that the event has happened AND we get a
    signature that is chemical specific. In other words, the bees can tell us
    what the chemical was.

    Now, as per painting bees, gluing things on with adhesives that volatize
    off solvents, etc. -- since the bees are SO sensitive to vapors, you can
    more or less fry their olfactory system (overload it), at least for the
    short term.

    So, here's the rub. Their olfactory systems respond to levels of chemicals
    that we can't measure (at least not in the short time interval that a bee
    can detect them). These chemicals have profound effects on their
    behavior. This we have on solid evidence -- hundreds of trials, all sorts
    of chemicals, chemical sampling with conventional instruments run in parallel.

    We also are convinced (and we can't fully answer this conjecture until we
    have the new lasers and some serious field time with them) that hanging
    anything on a bee may drastically alter bee flight, including orientation.

    And, our bias is that any use of a food reward - near the area that you
    think that a dance might be sending bees- invalidates the experiment. We
    use food as a reward, but at the hive. (Well, within a few yards of
    it). If the dance is sending foragers out to the food source -- they
    should all end up at the feeder dish beside the hive. There's no food
    anywhere near the things that we get them to search for. Why would the
    dance send them to a non-producing 'food' source.

    And finally, the probability that one of our trained bees will find any
    target emitting a NON-FOOD odor in the parts per billion vapor range is
    greater than 99%. At parts per trillion, its usually better than
    95-98%. Even if the dance helps, we'd only get a few % points
    improvement. For all of our work, 90% or more of the discovery of these
    unconventional targets (no food and not an odor that you'd expect bees to
    be able to discriminate) relies on odor and odor alone. And our reward
    dispensing feeder are NEVER near the targets. The dance, if it does what
    people contend, should be working against us. We should be seeing all of
    the bees at our conditioning trays, if they were being directed by a
    dance. Why look elsewhere?

    Jerry

    P.S. What does the dance do? Frankly, I don't know. But I do know, the
    bees don't need it to direct foraging.
    Regards, Barry

  7. #107
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    Jerry seems to be offering the very unique work done in
    landmine detection (where there is no actual nectar to
    bring back to the hive and dance about), as some sort of
    rebuttal to the radar-tracking done with feeders (where
    there IS nectar to be brought back to the hive and dance about).

    I will attempt to explain why Jerry's data is absolutely correct
    within the specific and highly artificial conditions of his work,
    but only within those artificial conditions. As such, Jerry's
    work cannot be the basis for conclusions about how bees act under
    more "normal" conditions, where there is actual foraging with
    rewards to be done, rather than nothing but the empty promises
    offered by Jerry to his bees.

    > Bottom line, carrying a large device with a vertical OR trailing
    > antenna... And grabbing them to put the things on is EXTREMELY
    > disruptive.

    But in the radar study at issue, what data is indicative of
    disruption? It would appear that, despite the physical burden of
    the diodes, the bees still flew with clear purpose, amazingly in
    compliance with dance vectors, even when being "fooled" by being
    released at unexpected locations.

    > LIDAR... Our laser maps of bees searching for targets
    > by odor can be seen online (Optics Express 13 5853)

    Correct me if I am over-simplifying, but the basic scheme of your
    tests was to introduce feed with a "landmine-like" scent, and get
    some of the bees to speculatively forage for new forage locations
    (not prompted by dances). As a certain percentage of foragers will
    always go on "purely speculative" sorties, this was a elegant
    approach to finding landmines.

    Jerry's work is waaay kewl, but he is exploiting the well-known
    behavior of bees under very specific artificial and unnatural
    conditions, trying to get the bees excited about going out and
    looking for "nectar" when there are no actual blooms. (It may
    sound "cruel" to do this, but if it can remove landmines, my vote
    is to frustrate the heck out of the bees - they'll get over it.)

    In fact, if any actual groceries had been found, this would have
    screwed up the test, as dancing would have vectored bees to areas
    of actual forage, rather than sending them out in essentially
    random directions in search of more of the "blooms" rumored to be
    blooming by the introduced feed. It would have screwed up the
    deployment of foragers, and limited the search area. So admit it,
    finding landmines won't work at all if there is anything of value
    to bees blooming in the area at the time of the trial. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    > Also, keep in mind, landmines don't have any reward AND our
    > conditioning occurs at the hive, not in the field.

    Yes, as I observed above, a situation not found in nature is being
    created to exploit the behavior of bees.

    > Both our video and the lasers show bees locking on and tracking
    > odor plume from these vapor sources from many yards away.

    No surprise there, the radar study at issue clearly showed the same
    sort of strategy, to follow the dance vectors for the bulk of the
    flight (hundreds or thousands of yards) and then, when within range
    of the area of interest, to use sensory input, including odor, to
    pick a specific bloom on which to forage, from "many yards away".
    The lack of odor in the feeder dishes in the radar study is what
    resulted in so many bees making it to the correct area, but not the
    feeder itself.

    > That means, using even the most conservative plume models, that the
    > bees were recognizing vapor trails in the parts per quadrillion or less.

    The statement above is a bit of a non-sequitur when one recalls that
    the bees in the radar study were flying and foraging downwind.
    I think it should be clear that any "odor plume" would have been
    downwind of the foraging targets, not anywhere else, certainly
    not along the bulk of the flight path from hive to feeder.

    > Now, as per painting bees... the bees are SO sensitive to vapors,
    > you can more or less fry their olfactory system (overload it), at
    > least for the short term.

    Yes, but in the radar study at issue, there was nothing to smell -
    there was no overt scent being used, which, not surprisingly resulted
    in many bees following the dance vectors to the area of the feeders,
    yet being unable to "find" the feeder, exactly what one would expect
    of bees used to basing their long-distance travel on dance vectors,
    and their final approach on odor.

    > We also are convinced (and we can't fully answer this conjecture until
    > we have the new lasers and some serious field time with them) that
    > hanging anything on a bee may drastically alter bee flight, including
    > orientation.

    Of course there's an impact. People have been doing all sorts of
    unspeakable things to bees for centuries, the most basic being to
    attach a feather or trailing thread to a foraging bee in an attempt
    to slow down the flight of the bee and thereby do some "lazy man's
    bee-lining". Funny how even extreme burdens in terms of both weight
    and aerodynamic impact do not make bees so burdened any less able to
    find their way home to the hive. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    > our bias is that any use of a food reward - near the area that you
    > think that a dance might be sending bees- invalidates the experiment.

    Yes, it would invalidate YOUR experiments, as you want bees to
    function in the near-psychotic state of having to go randomly
    search for nectar without any actual blooms in the area!

    But a "reward" is the only thing that is going to prompt a bee to
    dance at all. So, it depends on one's goal, and Jerry's goal is
    to exploit the purely speculative sorties, keeping all the bees
    that are recruited by dances as close to the hive as possible.

    In the radar study, the bees released away from the hive flew a
    pattern that assured that they would never find a feeder, yet
    they still flew that pattern. So the LACK of a reward in these
    cases clearly showed that the bees simply were not be somehow
    "homing in" on an odor, as there was nothing there. To trump
    the entire hand, they were flying downwind!

    > We use food as a reward, but at the hive. (Well, within a few yards
    > of it). If the dance is sending foragers out to the food source --
    > they should all end up at the feeder dish beside the hive.

    I hope Jerry is making a little joke here - of course 100% of the
    foraging force is never going to blindly focus on the same single
    source, the whole "hedging of bets" and "diversity in foraging
    options" is so well-known, it has been well-described in book
    form for years (Tom Seeley's "Wisdom of The Hive" would be about
    the best I could suggest on this).

    > There's no food anywhere near the things that we get them to search
    > for. Why would the dance send them to a non-producing 'food' source.

    It clearly does not - the bees foraging away from the feeder are
    "hedging the hive's bets" by looking for OTHER patches of the blooms
    falsely said to be "blooming" due to the nectar coming in the door
    from the nearby feeder, as any hive will do. So they find landmines.
    Nice way to "hack" bees, but not very useful in describing what the
    bees might do if landmines provided nectar.

    (Of course, I would simply design landmines that WOULD provide
    artificial nectar heavily scented with random scents that masked
    the odor of a landmine, and REALLY mess with your bees' heads,
    and screw up your whole detection scheme if I were employed by
    Acme Landmines. Naw, I would never work on landmines.)

    > For all of our work... relies on odor and odor alone.

    Yes, because you have set up conditions that prompt bees to go on
    exactly the speculative sorties that you'd like them to do, which
    this is well-known bee behavior, not at all relevant to basic issues
    of how bees utilize "Odor" and "Dance" in the real world.

    > The dance, if it does what people contend, should be working against us.

    Nope. A colony always hedges its bets, there are always some number of
    foragers looking for "yet another" hitherto undiscovered patch of what's
    blooming. THOSE are the bees that are finding your landmines.

    > Why look elsewhere?

    For the simple reason that, in the worldview of a bee, any ONE nectar source
    is absolutely certain to "dry up" or become "over-exploited" at some point,
    so "maverick" bees will always ignore the dances, and go out to try and
    discover an even BETTER place to brag about.

    > P.S. What does the dance do? Frankly, I don't know.
    > But I do know, the bees don't need it to direct foraging.

    If you have any doubt about the relative value of "dance" versus "odor"
    to actual real-world colonies of bees in real-world conditions, go try
    and locate some landmines when the entire field in which the landmines
    are buried is covered in clover, dandelions, vetch, and other blooms.

    You will get thousands of misleading tracks to slog through, 'cause even if
    your artificial "bribe" is 90% sugar, a heck of a lot of bees will still go
    for the clover and vetch.

  8. #108
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    Thanks Jim, that clarified a lot of things for me.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  9. #109
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    Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 10:03:29 -0700
    Reply-To: Informed Discussion of Beekeeping Issues and Bee Biology
    From: Jerry Bromenshenk


    Well, its been a long time since any of my posts generated any
    discussion. Fun to see some give and take. Jim put in some serious
    time. Too bad we couldn't argue this over a couple of beers.

    I stand by my last statement. You can read anything else you might like,
    into the discussion. I tried to say what we know from testing, what I
    'think', which is opinion. Bees Don't NEED the DANCE to be successful at
    foraging.

    Note, I did not take a stand on the dance.

    As to interference in bee behavior, caused by grabbing bees and attaching
    tags, that's my conclusion after lots of testing. Its opinion, but its
    also the reason we stopped pursuing tags, turned to lasers.

    Now, as to why Joe's bees found their targets. Since the bees can find the
    odor without ANY dance information, they will get to a scented target
    regardless of whether they do or do not get any usable information from the
    dance and whether anyone grabbed them.

    Also, Joe didn't paint his bees, but the GLUE is very volatile. In fact,
    I'm surprised it doesn't throw them off.

    Do all of the bees go to our landmines, absolutely not. Do the majority of
    them search for the non-reward bearing targets -- it appears so, but our
    new lasers will finally answer that question.

    Is our situation highly artificial - absolutely. But note, we're the only
    one who ever uncoupled the dance from the odor (as far as getting bees to a
    non-reward bearing target that doesn't look like a flower or feeder -- its
    just a patch of dirt). Now, this is MY opinion, and Jim and Bill aren't
    likely to agree. But, we've been reasonably successful at following our
    opinions, so I'll continue along this path until our data proves me wrong.

    Jim says the dance will send foragers to other FOOD sources. Maybe. Do
    some bees fly and bring home water, pollen, nectar -- while others go to
    landmines -- certainly.

    But, if you are a forager conditioned to landmines, YOUR floral constancy
    should be to a tray with oodles of syrup, that smells like a nitrogen
    compound. Since that tray is by the hive, economy of effort would imply
    that any foragers from THAT SOURCE should be dancing to direct their
    sisters to THAT source. In fact, we have to control access to the tray --
    otherwise no bee goes anywhere other than to the tray.

    Now, at least two of the major U.S. proponents (scientists who have
    published in Nature about the dance) have confessed that:

    1) The dance doesn't appear to have a role in how we get bees to non-reward
    bearing targets, and
    2) Of these, one of the key players is as interested in our laser as we are
    -- although he strongly believes in and has published extensively on the dance,
    the scientist in him knows that we really don't know how bees discover and
    explore new areas -- if we can image that, picking out the bees from the
    moment they walk out the door, and can monitor all 360 degrees, with full
    sampling of wind directions, etc. -- we're going to have a chance to really
    examine central foraging.

    Not necessarily what the books say, but what the bees do.

    Jerry
    Regards, Barry

  10. #110
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    Barry keeps re-posting Jerry's Bee-L postings
    here, so I'll post my responses to Jerry's,
    as I've got my buddy Jerry cornered but good!

    You actually reading any of this Barry?
    Thinking it through? If so, why not
    speak for yourself?

    ======================================
    Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 14:12:40 -0500
    Reply-To: Informed Discussion of Beekeeping Issues and Bee Biology
    From: James Fischer bee-quick@BEE-QUICK.COM

    > Jim put in some serious time.

    Naw, I just type fast.

    > Too bad we couldn't argue this over a couple of beers.

    Anytime we are in the same zip code, and I'm buying.

    > Now, as to why Joe's bees found their targets. Since the bees
    > can find the odor without ANY dance information, they will get
    > to a scented target

    But the targets in the study at issue were >>NOT<< scented!!!!
    "Joe" is "J. Riley", author of the study at issue, for those
    playing the home version of the game.

    > Also, Joe didn't paint his bees, but the GLUE is very volatile.
    > In fact, I'm surprised it doesn't throw them off.

    I'm not... there was no advantage to detecting odors in the
    study at hand, so it did not matter. Had it been a windless
    day, or had the feeder been upwind of the hive, odors might
    have certainly factored into the results, at least in terms
    of how many bees might find the actual target rather than
    just fly in the direction of the target.

    > But note, we're the only one who ever uncoupled the dance
    > from the odor as far as getting bees to a non-reward bearing
    > target that doesn't look like a flower or feeder -- its just
    > a patch of dirt.

    Well, read on for why I don't think you have "uncoupled" anything
    and why your scheme "needs" dance. Ruth calls them "scouts", and
    I call them "speculative sorties", but regardless, these are bees
    who are predisposed to look elsewhere, overtly NOT at the "danced"
    location of your feeder.

    So, if I am on a speculative sortie, and all I have to go on is
    the scent of the nectar that is coming in the door, I'm gonna do
    what? I'm gonna fly off in a "random" direction or, more likely,
    an ever-widening circle type search pattern, similar to an
    orientation flight, and I'm gonna "see what I can find out there".

    And if I am >>>REALLY<<< using "only odor", why do I not head straight
    to the feeder only yards away from the hive? Well shucks, that's
    because I KNOW that actual nectar coming into the hive from that
    site is limited, and I need to look elsewhere, as I paid attention
    to THE DANCES ABOUT THAT EXISTING SOURCE!

    Now this is pure speculation on my part, but I'd submit that
    Jerry's entire scheme depends upon "dance", or no bees would
    go anywhere but the feeder, due to the odor from the feeder
    being "right on the hive's doorstep". So, the speculative
    sortie foragers see/hear/feel the dances, and use the vector
    info, or the round dance description of "really close", to
    EXCLUDE the feeder site as a source that is "overloaded" with
    foragers, or perhaps "drying up".

    <><><><><><>&l t;><><><><><>< ><><><><><><&g t;<><><>< ><><><>
    <>
    <> 'Cause if it was "all odor", why/how would ANY bee IGNORE
    <> THE ODOR WAFTING FROM THE FEEDER and look anywhere else?
    <>
    <><><><><><>&l t;><><><><><>< ><><><><><><&g t;<><><>< ><><><>

    > Jim says the dance will send foragers to other FOOD sources. Maybe.

    No, not in the least - I said that the feeder site being danced
    about is being overtly ignored by these speculative foragers,
    as described above.

    Clearly, they may be paying attention to tropholaxis, or maybe the
    whole hive starts to smell like the "nectar du jour", and even
    tropholaxis is irrelevant. Heck, tag some bees with number tags,
    use an observation hive and look at how your toy actually works in
    terms of what the specific bees that end up finding landmines do,
    both inside and outside the hive.

    An easy test would be to allow unrestricted access to your feeder
    for a few hours, to "get 'em hooked", and then, if you were to
    MORE SEVERELY restrict access to the feeder than you do now, you'd
    see an increase in the number of bees resorting to speculative
    sorties, and an increase in the number of landmines found per hour
    versus what you have seen with less draconian restriction.

    There ya go, a testable and falsifiable prediction that has actual
    value to your core mission in terms of tangibly better performance
    of your detection scheme. If it works, you can let me keep the
    very slick bee counter you sent me.
    By the way - love the toy!
    Do you need it back? Say the word...

    > But, if you are a forager conditioned to landmines, YOUR floral
    > constancy should be to a tray with oodles of syrup, that smells
    > like a nitrogen compound. Since that tray is by the hive, economy
    > of effort would imply that any foragers from THAT SOURCE should be
    > dancing to direct their sisters to THAT source. In fact, we have
    > to control access to the tray -- otherwise no bee goes anywhere other
    > than to the tray.

    OK, no surprises there - so, if you want to maximize the number of
    speculative sorties, it should be no big surprise that if the
    "nectar du jour" is coming in, but not keeping all foragers busy,
    that more foragers will indulge in speculative sorties.

  11. #111
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    <<Barry keeps re-posting Jerry's Bee-L postings
    here, so I'll post my responses to Jerry's,
    as I've got my buddy Jerry cornered but good!

    You actually reading any of this Barry?
    Thinking it through? If so, why not
    speak for yourself?>>

    I copied Jerry's post here because it is a very significant peice to this discussion. Then you had to go and rebuttel him so now I have to keep posting [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I am reading this thread, thinking it through and letting those who have had firsthand experience in tracking bees battle it out. I just know that the older I get (48), the less I know what I thought I knew as truth or fact! I have such little free time to be at the computer these days. If I think I have something of value to add, I'll be sure to post it [img]smile.gif[/img]

    - Barry
    Regards, Barry

  12. #112
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    VERY interesting discussion. I hope you guys will keep posting it. The following link is about using a robotic bee to study dance language and sound for locating a food source.

    http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/us/bee_dance_2.htm

    Triangle Bees

  13. #113
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    That's a very interesting article and settles the argument for me, anyway. Thanks for posting it, db_land.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  14. #114
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    Post

    From Adrian Wenner:
    ------

    We have had a lot of exchange about "bee language" on BEE-L this
    past couple of weeks, with some of the postings coming from several
    dedicated bee language advocates (and one newly "converted" advocate).
    I deeply appreciate their various comments, because it provides yet
    another chance to clarify matters with solid evidence.

    Although several contributors seem enthralled by the radar-tracking
    experiments, I feel that Riley and co-workers failed on a number of
    counts:

    1) They assumed that one can catch a bee after it leaves a dancing bee
    and before it leaves a hive — and then that it might "intend" to go to
    a specific site (an assumption never proved). They then glued a weight
    onto its back, released it, and expected that bee to behave as if
    nothing had happened — that its "programming would not have been
    altered by the treatment.

    2) They ignored basic tenets about experimental techniques that have
    been with us for 140 years. For instance, as Claude Bernard (father of
    modern experimental biology) wrote in 1865, " ... when we have put
    forth an idea or a theory in science [ in this case "dance language" ],
    our object must not be to preserve it by seeking everything that may
    support it and setting aside everything that may weaken it." (More on
    that below)

    3) Their experiment lacked adequate controls. For instance, they did
    not radar-track bees that had attended dancers that had "indicated" a
    different direction than the one they anticipated. Nor did they track
    bees that left the hive but had not attended dancers.

    4) They erroneously presumed that their conclusion (that bees had
    "used" direction information obtained from dancers) was the only
    interpretation that could be reached from their results.

    The most egregious of the above, perhaps, is that they "set aside
    all evidence that might weaken" their mind set. That is, they tried
    mightily to prove the bee language hypothesis true instead of putting
    it to a real test (e.g., blind, double blind, etc.).

    (Please note that I do not dispute that the couple dozen tracked
    bees that they reported upon all went off in the same direction.)

    In response, I present here some of the evidence that language
    advocates consistently ignore (as indicated in point 2, above),
    evidence that comes from only one of our many publications on the
    matter. (No, you will not find this evidence summarized in any
    publication written by bee language advocates — for obvious reasons, as
    listed in point #2, above.)

    The evidence as summarized below appeared in the journal SCIENCE,
    after thorough pre-publication review by anonymous referees. That
    paper can be found at:

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/wenner/sci1969.htm

    In those experiments (as in others) we employed rigorous controls,
    as well as blind and double blind techniques. Neither organizers nor
    participants knew what results to expect. All test stations were
    cleaned and fresh glassware with new sugar solution set up each 15
    minutes. Dirty glassware was placed in sealed plastic bags. Data
    gatherers at each station had no contact with others during the full
    three hour period each day. Marked bees regularly flew between hive
    and feeding stations. Arriving unmarked recruits were gently picked up
    and dropped into bottles of alcohol for later tallying. We did not try
    to prove any hypothesis true but strove to learn what cues recruits use
    when they search in the field for food sources visited by regular
    foragers. (We had already learned from earlier experiments that
    recruits end up at a set of scented stations according to their
    geometrical placement in the field — rather than in a distribution
    predicted by the language hypothesis.)

    Here are the results from two of the sets of experiments:

    SET #1) In that 1969 SCIENCE paper we concluded in part: "That bees
    locate a food source by olfaction is especially possible in view of the
    extremely low recruitment rate of regular foragers collecting unscented
    sucrose at an unscented site. On 25 July 1968, for instance, in the
    absence of a major nectar source for the colony, we received only five
    recruits from a hive of approximately 60,000 bees after ten bees had
    foraged at each of four stations for a total of 1374 round trips during
    a 3-hour period." (That averages out as 0.0036 recruits per forager
    bee round trip at unscented food during a period of scarce natural
    forage.)

    We knew from other earlier experiments that: a) the less odor in
    the food, the more frequently foragers dance in the hive and b)
    foragers expose their Nasanov glands most often at unscented feeding
    stations in the field. In other words, searching recruits in our
    experiment did not find the target stations, despite the fact that
    foragers danced more often than ever in the hive and exposed their
    Nasanov glands nearly every time they fed at the dishes. There was
    thus nearly always a distinctive odor at the feeding stations (N.G.
    gland odor) — but not an odor that recruits had associated with the
    sugar solution reward before leaving their hive.

    In the summer of 2003 I demonstrated that same result to a group of
    military and civilian observers in Maryland. We had about 40 colonies
    of bees feeding on unscented sugar solution at various test stations.
    Each test station had a scent (odor of an explosive chemical)
    associated with but separate from the sugar solution. Recruitment was
    very high at all such test stations. At another location I set up a
    dish of unscented solution but with no associated scent. During a
    3-hour period, no searching bees landed at that unscented station.

    In December of 2005 a film crew came here to Santa Barbara from
    France to get footage for a film on "animal language," choosing me as
    the focus for bee communication. I demonstrated how to train honey
    bees to visit food sources. In addition, I set out a dish of unscented
    sugar solution and had them train a camera on that dish. Even though
    foragers collected unscented food for a full two days from dishes with
    a scent associated with the reward — and recruits regularly showed up
    at those scented dishes — no bees arrived at the dish with unscented
    solution that lacked the appropriate associated scent.

    I feel very confident that I can demonstrate this failure of bees to
    find unscented sugar solution at any time and in any place — given very
    tight controls on how the sugar solution is prepared.

    SET #2) Consider the results of a more extensive set of experiments as
    reported in that 1969 paper.

    During the summer in Santa Barbara we have remarkably uniform
    weather. That condition permitted us to run an uninterrupted series of
    recruitment experiments for 24 consecutive days. One can see ALL the
    results we obtained in Table 1 of that paper (see URL, above). A
    synopsis follows.

    Ten marked bees regularly visited each of two stations at 200 m from
    their hive and 280 m from each other. On some days we used unscented
    sugar solution; on other days we used scented solution. Each trip by
    each bee was tallied, as was the number of unmarked recruits captured
    and the number of times marked foragers exposed their Nasanov gland.

    RESULTS: A) Only 86 recruits arrived during a total of 18 hours (on
    six days) at dishes that had unscented food. During those hours, 10
    foragers made repeated regular trips to each dish and exposed their
    Nasanov glands 2,187 times.

    B) By contrast, 1,717 recruits arrived during a total of 33 hours (on
    11 days) at dishes that had scented food, with foragers exposing their
    Nasanov glands 2,096 times.

    SUMMARY:

    Recruits per hour to unscented food — 5; N.G. exposure at the
    station, 243 per hour
    Recruits per hour to scented food — 156; N.G. exposure at the
    station, 127 per hour

    Those results were obtained in an experiment with an A PRIORI
    "crucial experiment" design (not the weaker A POSTERIORI interpretation
    by Gavin Ramsey about the radar-tracking study). To continue, on some
    days of the 24-day sequence, we switched the two target stations to
    unscented solution, set up a test station between the two of them, and
    provided scented solution at that third station instead. (Regular
    foragers continued to fly and collect unscented solution from stations
    at which they had been trained, but no such foragers ever landed on the
    third, test station.) On those test days, recruits that left the hive
    could either use direction and distance information obtained from a
    dancing bee, as expected by the language hypothesis, OR they could
    search for the odor of the food that had been brought into the hive the
    previous day.

    That is what one means by a true "crucial experiment" (or "strong
    inference" experiment). The searching bees could either go to where
    they had supposedly been directed by the dance maneuver (to one of the
    two stations visited by foragers) or they could search for the food
    odor (at a third station never frequented by foragers) — a mutually
    exclusive set of outcomes.

    RESULTS: Consider here the results from 8 of those days of the
    experiment — four days in which recruits arrived at stations with
    regular foragers feeding on scented stations and four days of recruits
    arriving the day immediately after, when foragers fed on unscented
    food.

    A) When foragers fed on scented food, a total of 666 recruits arrived
    on those four days. The Nasanov gland was exposed only 721 times.

    B) When foragers fed upon unscented food on subsequent days, a total
    of only 33 recruits arrived at the two stations visited by forager
    bees. However, 224 recruits arrived at the third test station instead,
    which had the scented food used on the previous day — though no
    foragers ever fed from that intermediate station.

    That low turnout of recruits (33) at the two stations visited by
    regular foragers that collected unscented sucrose solution occurred
    despite the fact that, collectively, foragers exposed their Nasanov
    glands 1,218 times.

    SUMMARY: Recruits should have arrived primarily at the two stations
    where bees visited unscented solution IF they had used dance maneuver
    information. Instead, 87% of the recruits arrived at the single test
    station that had no foragers but had the scented food used the day
    before.

    [NOTE: In 1946 von Frisch published some similar results, results that
    revealed that Nasanov gland scent failed to attract recruits. He
    dismissed the disconnect between his results and his earlier hypothesis
    that it did so, as follows: " ... there is no doubt about the existence
    of an attraction exerted by the scent organ ... which has also been
    confirmed in further experiments into which I do not want to go here...
    " One can find a complete coverage of the Nasanov gland hypothesis
    problem in Excursus NG of our 1990 Columbia University Press book at:

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/wenner/EXC_NG.htm

    Did our crucial experiment ever get repeated? Yes, but only in
    part. That is a very interesting story in itself. The powers that be
    were apparently deeply disturbed by the rigorous nature of our
    experimental design and by its implications. Unbeknownst to us, those
    powers (apparently including E.O. Wilson) arranged for Martin Lindauer
    from Germany to come to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in the
    following summer to repeat our experiments there, presumably to
    determine what we had done wrong. (As one might normally expect out of
    professional courtesy, they did not invite any of us to participate.)

    Lindauer obtained much the same set of results that we had obtained,
    though he apparently could not bring himself to use unscented food at
    the two regular feeding stations. Recruits still arrived
    preferentially at the central station when odor was provided there on a
    subsequent day. Did that shake his (or others) faith in the language
    hypothesis? Not at all. Instead, Lindauer concluded (without
    observation) that recruits must have paid attention to dance maneuver
    information from dancers that visited both outside stations, averaged
    the directional information, and flown out to the central test station.
    He thus ascribed even more capability to bees than earlier claimed (an
    ability to average directional information). In doing so, he ignored
    the fact that recruits failed to arrive in larger numbers at the two
    outside stations than at the central station — even though Nasanov
    gland exposure by regular foragers would have been high there and
    absent at the central station not visited by foragers.

    Anyone can repeat the above experiments in a few weeks in late
    summer during a nectar dearth. All one has to do is to be willing to
    accept the results obtained and not dismiss results that may not match
    prior expectations.

    RADAR TRACKING STUDIES

    It would appear that some people think the radar tracking study is
    on a par with or superior to the studies we have done earlier.
    However, I fail to see how the radar tracking study can in any way
    compare with results obtained in the above comprehensive study and
    others we have done. Just because radar tracking involved a high-tech
    approach does not mean the experiment has a more rigorous design. The
    opposite is, in fact, true — as explained in my introductory comments
    above.

    As for me, I am going to stick by my guns. I trust results of the
    natural behavior of thousands of unmolested bees obtained by use of
    blind, double controlled, and true crucial experiments more than
    interpretation of results obtained from the behavior of a couple dozen
    bees by someone else who tries to prove a favored hypothesis true. The
    two types of experiments are not on a par with one another. Neither
    should a believer in bee language be willing to discard evidence
    obtained about the behavior of thousands of unmolested searching bees.

    Neither is all this controversy about a perceived unwillingness on
    my part to change my mind if compelling counter evidence comes in. One
    cannot erase from Nature the documentation we have published about the
    behavior of searching bees.

    Nor is it all about what I, personally, might WANT bees to do, it's
    about how bees really behave. That's one of the reasons I recently
    published the review paper found at:

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/wenner/jib2002.htm

    This continuing saga reminds me of a statement by Nobel Laurate
    Peter Medawar: "It is a common failing — and one that I have myself
    suffered from — to fall in love with a hypothesis and to be unwilling
    to take no for an answer. A love affair with a pet hypothesis can
    waste years of precious time. There is very often no finally decisive
    yes, though quite often there can be a decisive no."

    Have we wasted enough time and resources on this controversy yet?

    Adrian

    Adrian M. Wenner (805) 963-8508 (home office phone)
    967 Garcia Road wenner@lifesci.ucsb.edu
    Santa Barbara, CA 93103 www.beesource.com/pov/wenner/index.htm

    ***********
    “The more persuasive the evidence against a belief,
    the more virtuous it is deemed to persist in it.”

    Robert Park — 2000 (Voodoo Science)

    **********
    Regards, Barry

  15. #115
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    Post

    From Bee-L:


    Honestly, I did not expect that my essay of two days ago would evoke
    such instantaneous and fiery response in such a short time. I usually
    spend a few days digesting input from others before responding.

    While I consider the recent inputs in adamant support of dance
    language, let me add a note about how some of us bee researcher get to
    this point. Peter Borst already gave us a sketch of Tom Seeley and how
    he wasn't really an entomologist. On Mar 6, 2006, at 8:17 AM, Jerry
    Bromenshenk wrote (in small part):

    > Bill said:
    >
    > <BTW, Jerry, I thought the reason you shifted to bees to find land
    > mines is you ran out of graduate students.>
    >
    > I hope that's tongue in cheek. I've had some wonderful graduate
    > students, but I now encourage undergraduates, rarely take on graduate
    > students.
    >
    > The reason is simple. Its due to my history and how I'm funded.
    >
    > I've worked in bee research for 31 year. I came out of school in the
    > wrong place, at the wrong time -- or maybe in the right place or the
    > right time.

    I thank Jerry for that long exposition about his career. My
    experience has had some parallels.


    I, too, grew up on a farm in what would today be considered dire
    poverty (no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no insulation in the
    house, or central heating — except for a pot-bellied stove in our
    small living room), and not enough money for food or clothes —
    depression days!. Nine people in a small four-room house didn't help,
    either.

    But our community did stress integrity and honesty! (An uncle of
    mine once said, "Honesty as a policy is dishonest!) My home town
    (Roseau) in NW Minnesota is now a STAR town in that state. My best
    friend through 12 years of school, Bob Bergland, became Secretary of
    Agriculture under Jimmy Carter, who asked him if he was honest before
    putting him on the job.

    That adherence to honesty is perhaps the major reason I stick to my
    guns on the bee language controversy. I have no choice!

    After high school, I received formal training in electronics,
    mathematics, and physics, while at the same time becoming deeply
    involved in commercial beekeeping. That exposure sparked an interest
    in biology, and I then studied biology for the first time in my life
    and earned a PhD in zoology at the University of Michigan with a
    speciality in animal behavior.

    Earlier, while in graduate courses in mathematics, I had gained a
    thorough background in logic. At Michigan, while in an advanced course
    in genetics, I learned the distinction between direct and indirect
    evidence. At the time a debate raged about whether protein or DNA was
    responsible for genetic transmission. Fortunately, the scientists
    involved did not reach a consensus that protein was sometimes
    responsible and sometimes DNA! (A type of logic we now see pressed by
    some in our current controversy.)

    Unlike Jerry, though, my wanderings through life as an adult somehow
    led me into a professor's job. I must confess that I didn't really
    grasp all this "clawing one's way to the top" that I have seen so many
    academics engaged in. I just continued my zeal to try and understand
    what Nature was all about and try not to impose my wishes upon Her.

    My advancement through the academic ranks benefited from the fact
    that the University of California has an excellent set of checks and
    balances. Faculty members at UC, for the most part, get promoted (at
    least in earlier days) largely on the basis of the quality of their
    teaching and research — not on how much grant funding they take in.
    The department doesn't have the final say; campus-wide committees
    insure that promotions are merited.

    In time, I taught a well-attended course: "The Nature of Biological
    Research," where I instilled in the students the importance of
    teachings by Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn (names quite unfamiliar at the
    time to biologists in general).

    When my colleagues and I inadvertently challenged the bee language
    hypothesis through experiments such as I discussed in my last posting,
    our chances to get outside funding dried up completely — anonymous
    referees, completely committed to bee language dogma, would not permit
    approval of our funding requests.

    That's O.K. undergraduate students flocked in to help as volunteers.
    Then I took a two-decade leave of absence into marine biology
    (crustacean growth and reproduction) while waiting for tempers to cool
    (not very cool yet, I guess).

    If I had to do it all over again, though, I would have to go the
    same route — rely on what the bees "tell" me. That way was never easy
    — it included loss of all summer salaries from grants for the rest of
    my career. It also meant that my graduate students could not have
    assistance from grants for their research. They didn't mind too much.
    We developed a great camaraderie and we all toughed it out — and had
    great fun doing real science.

    For more information on my career in this area, check out:

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/wenner/readme.htm

    In my science methods course (as above), I used the dance language
    controversy as an example of science in action. That included the
    following admonition: "...the bee language controversy continues to
    reach an ever-wider audience ... and promises to become an object
    lesson in how science progresses - not so much by "proofs" and
    "discoveries" as by the generation and replacement of hypotheses."


    Adrian
    Regards, Barry

  16. #116
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Post

    Ref the 3/11 post>
    1) Why would foragers dance more often for unscented food? Even bees know odorless food is tasteless food which is usually diet food - so who wants to collect diet food for energy starved bees?
    2) How did the foragers of non-scented food at explosives scented stations communicate the scent of the explosives to recruist back at the hive? The foragers don't collect explosives so how can recruits associate the explosives odor with a food source and station?
    3) How can anyone make the claim that something is odorless to a bee? It has been shown that bees can detect parts per quadrillion - far beyond human ability to measure/detect. Even stainless steel would exude that many molecules from a few hundred meters away.

    I can just imagine a conversation between a returned dancing forager(F)hauling "odorless" "nectar" trying to get recruits(R) to help collect it:
    F(s): Come on girls, go here. Somehow this nectar is tasteless but has lots of sucrose. Passes out a small amount to potential recruits.
    R(s): There's got to be something out there better than this - this stuff is tasteless! Why waste time and energy collecting some unknown substance that may or may not be good for the brood? NO THANKS.

    To me Wenner's experiment clearly proves that the "dance" communicates (at least to human observers) distance and direction to a food source location. Ref Fig. 2 of his paper: he defines the broken circles around the feeding stations as standard deviations resulting from his interpretation of observed forager "dances".

    So far, all of the DL experiments from both sides of the debate seem to prove that bees use both DL and ODOR to locate food and recruit other foragers to it.
    Triangle Bees

  17. #117
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Totnes, Devon, England
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    Post

    FWIW, I still like the poetry of the two-dimensional projection of six-dimensional space.

    [edit by mod - copyrighted material]

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...19847180/print FiandArticles.Com>

    [size="1"][ March 14, 2006, 03:57 PM: Message edited by: Barry ][/size]
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  18. #118
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    Post

    >Wenner's experiment clearly proves that the "dance" communicates (at least to human observers) distance and direction to a food source location

    Wenner does say that humans can derive rough distance and direction information from bee dances. He also says that humans deriving information from dances does not imply that bees do so too.

  19. #119
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    Sep 2004
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    Anchorage, Alaska
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    Post

    >COPYRIGHT (C) 1997 Discover
    >COPYRIGHT (C) 2004 Gale Group

    Do some of you guys even have a clue as to what that means?

  20. #120
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    Post

    I still have questions about the whole controversy. In fact, this whole discussion brings up even more questions.

    1) What constitutes an "odorless" food source? Db_land already asked this, and I think he's right to ask. When I've made up sugar syrup for bees, I can smell the sugar syrup. If bees' powers of olfaction are greater than humans (and everything indicates that they are), why couldn't the bees smell the sugar syrup, too?

    2) So bees can find food by following odor plumes. Do bees receive some advantage by sometimes NOT following the odor plumes? If a bee finds a resource somewhere far, far downwind of a hive, and that resource is abundant and valuable, doesn't the hive gain by some method of recruiting? How could that recruiting work? Scent won't work to locate resources far, far downwind, especially in poor conditions. I've read that recruited workers -- on some of these long flights -- will "take on" enough food to reach the resources, but so little extra that they really can't spend much time searching once they get that far downwind. The first thing they do, then, is feed when they get so far downwind.

    I know it's hard to test such things, and I'm not sure that anyone has tested the idea well enough to really support it, but the principle is useful to imagine such things. Obviously, bees can't fly indefinitely. If the only useful resource is (just to push it out toward the edge of effective foraging range) 3 miles downwind, any bee that wandered around upwind would be wasting time and energy. How do bees cope with situations along these lines?

    3) Back to the whole swarm idea: assuming that the swarm follows scent plumes to ideal nesting cavities, "scouts" become superfluous. Why bother having scouts if the entire swarm can simply follow the most attractive odor plume to the new cavity? Why, then, do swarms temporarily alight on objects that are clearly not suitable for nesting?

    The whole problem, for me, is that "odor alone" fails to adequately describe all the foraging strategies of honey bees. Something else must be used in part. Ants use elaborate communication systems (based, in part, on chemicals), so why can't honey bees? If the "dance language" doesn't explain their methods of communication, what system does? Wenner and others have demonstrated that Nasanov gland pheromones don't attract recruits in the field, so what does? And, at the same time, why exactly do bees "dance" then?

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