small creatures of the gods bee

Nature Small creatures of the gods - Bee

Published on November 27th, 2012

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Small creatures of the gods - Bee

About Bees we know and wrote a lot. No insect has been studied more than them, and when we say study, we only consider modern entomology, for knowledge, skills relating to bee-keeping, from centuries ago, still in the study came from a constant and careful observation of the hive life. “Lifestyle” inspired the bee, since ancient times, symbolic interpretations, myths and legends, stories, poems and fables, philosophical meditations, flags and coats of arms, comparisons and metaphors. Because profoundly human habit of judging everything through human vision to life, describing bees life often suffered anthropomorphism. Although today we think it’s all about instinct reached an advanced stage, refined through evolution bee behaviour fascinates us so much that we do not stop to equip them with a spiritual aura.

Above all, the bee has inspired love. A small creature chosen, given the special characteristics and loved by both gods and men - shown as bee. What I could do it was so amazing, that it will only be a miracle, it could only be the effect of a divine breath.

Honey and wax leaven hidden in hollows the human eye could not penetrate easily, so whatever happened there holding a mysterious alchemy, the secrets behind some transformations which are of flowers (beautiful, but the man could not eat) was born honey and prepared a hidden craft, honeycombs, unparalleled in their perfection.
At a time when fresh food was very rare (because in a few thousand years ago or fruit - almost all wild - were not much of a sweet) meeting with honey must have been a revelation and eating her experience rare and valuable. Must have seemed amazing ancient people accomplish these small beings. Honey was not only nutritious and taste great, but have therapeutic and magical virtues and wax candlelight banish darkness from primitive dwellings. How can people not love bees?

In here, here, where people raise bees for hundreds, if not thousands of years, mythological universe is full of stories about tiny creatures. Bee is clean, fertile, and above all, is hard-working, law remained, until today, a symbol, the very embodiment of diligence.

As can be seen, although we collected as scientific information about bees, through the efforts of renowned researchers, we continue to see in terms of our morality. But, after all, if a clean and industrious creature does not deserve our love, who deserves it?

The four stages, three castes

Like all insects called Holometabola (with complete metamorphosis), the bees go in life through four distinct stages: egg (made of jelly after mating) larva (which nourish healthy workers, nurses), pupa (transition from larva to stern occurs in cells filled with wax, “capacity” in bee-keepers language  - photo), and finally adult, male or female.

pupa - transition from larva to stern occurs in cells filled with wax

The hive reigns strict caste division on. There is a queen, worker bees (sterile females) and drones that … we can see, by name, what they get. Okay, this is a malicious joke, drones also have a purpose in fact, as queen, are devoted to the “work” of reproduction. They are “house men” males who mate with the queen to produce future generations of workers and queens. The drones are hatched from unfertilized eggs deposited by the queen.

The queen (the number 29 in the photo below) is the mother of all settlements, the only fertile female, who has done a great and important job, it is true: to lay eggs. Workers who do all the other things in the hive are sterile females, from larvae fed on pollen, while the queen comes from a larva fed with royal jelly. Pollen is a cluster of microscopic granules that contain the male reproductive cells of flowering plants. It is a concentrate of nutrients that nourish bees brood intended to transform the business and drones.
In contrast, larvae that will become queens grow in special cells , bigger than the rest and receive preferential treatment: they are stuffed with royal jelly, even more nutritious, a kind of super-food, due to which their larvae increasing weight of 1800 times in just five days.

number 29  the mother of all settlements, the only fertile femaleWhen there are multiple young queens, they fight each other, until (as in Highlander!) it remains the only one.

Sometimes, when the colony becomes too large (and there are other causes, known or suspected only), a queen form their own hive train and goes in search of another dwelling: is a phenomenon called swarming. This is a critical moment: cluster, often sheltered in a high tree, are “staying” in a hive, otherwise they will go who knows where. To catch a cluster you must first catch the queen and all the other bees will follow.

Hive Factory

It has been said many times that honeycombs are a wonder of technology and it has become trivialized. And yet, how bees wax models (produced by specialized abdominal glands), building hexagonal cells - the most efficient way to fill space - can not be trivial. (Can perfection be trivial?)

Wax was, along with honey, a ‘success’ for many centuries. Even if today candles are made of other substances, beeswax remains an important product, pharmaceutical and cosmetic use in particular.

bees factory hive

Threatened!

Bees also have their natural enemies, parasites or predators. In their flight from flower to flower may be unlucky enough to fall into the jaws of a spider. There are species of wasps and bees are at war with, as there are specialized birds who feed on bees, like European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), one of the most beautiful birds here, loved by everyone, apart from bee-keepers. But that’s nothing compared to what people do.

Bees live today hard times: because they are dying in masses. The phenomenon is investigated by numerous research institutes throughout the world, aware of the danger that lurks us if it where to disappear bees pollinating plants - agriculture, our food source would be gravely affected - scientists trying to find out what causes the decimation of the colony.

Various explanations have been proposed: a combination of a parasite and a virus, extending wireless communications, whose signals interfere with the communication and orientation of bees and obviously mass poisoning due to pesticides. Precise cause has not yet been elucidated, it is likely to be a more complex phenomenon, an accumulation of harmful factors. And in the meantime, bees continue to dwindle. Discouraged by the fighting gradual but visible and dramatic, the species of bee keepers and they disappear. France, for instance, lost in just 10 years (1994-2004), 15,000 bee-keepers: people have given up an occupation in which, instead of honey, they received only handfuls of dead bees.

The problem is that we can’t afford to lose: bees are a vital force of the planet.

“If bees were to disappear, man would have only a few years to live.” The statement is attributed to Albert Einstein, although it seems hard to believe it’s very possible thing: bees play a vital role in pollination (ie the reproduction) of thousands of species of plants. 50 million years since they appeared on Earth, bees - at first only the wild and raised by humans then - have contributed greatly to the evolution of the plant kingdom, as we know it today. Without them, our world would be tragic “different”. Problem is that hardly afford to lose: bees are a vital force of the planet.

Swarm on the trail
Sometimes, when the colony becomes too large (and there are other causes, known or suspected only), a queen form their own hive goes in search of another settlement: baptised swarming phenomenon. It is a critical moment: cluster, often sheltered in a tall tree, “staying” in a hive, otherwise will go chaotically, wasting bee-keepers work  that increased the fugitives. To capture a cluster, you must first seize the queen and all the other bees will follow.

Just like old times
Although today bee-keepers use modern hives with rectangular shapes, in Europe, there where some bee-keepers who raise bees in hives with ancient forms. This type of shelter for bees was used until the mid-twentieth century and left us today some “relics”. The Cevennes region of France, hives carved in chestnut trunks and covered with slate tiles traditional located in a forest of chestnut trees.

Fallen
Bees also have their natural enemies, parasites or predators. In their flight from flower to flower, may misfortune of falling between the jaws of a spider. There are species of wasps with bees at war, as there are birds specialized to feed on bees, like European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), one of the most beautiful flying from us, loved by everyone, except bee-keepers.

It has been said many times …
Honeycombs … are a wonder of technology and it has become trivialized. And yet, how bees wax models (produced by specialized abdominal glands), building hexagonal cells - the most efficient way to fill space - can not be trivial. (Can perfection be trivial?) Wax was, along with honey, a ‘success’ for centuries. Even if today candles are made of other substances, beeswax remains an important product - for pharmaceutical and cosmetic in particular.

Mass poisoning
Although bees have many natural enemies, the damage caused by them does not compare with what man does. Pesticide use in orchards and cultivated fields causing the death of millions of bees, with dramatic consequences. France, for instance, lost in just 10 years (1994-2004), 15,000 bee-keepers: people have given up an occupation in which, instead of honey, they received only handfuls of dead bees.

Food and super-food
Pollen is a cluster of microscopic granules that contain the male reproductive cells of flowering plants. It is a concentrate of nutrients that nourish bees brood intended to transform the business and drones. In contrast, larvae that will become queens grow in special cells , bigger than the rest and receive preferential treatment: they are stuffed with royal jelly, even more nutritious, a kind of super-food, due to which their larvae increasing weight of 1800 times in just five days.

The queen is only one
The queen lays eggs, surrounded by her colony. Entire colony’s queen mother, the only fertile female, who has done one important thing, that’s right: eggs. Workers who do all the other things in the hive are sterile females, from larvae fed with pollen (except for the first 3 days of life, they receive royal jelly), while the queen comes from a larva fed only with royal jelly. When there are multiple young queens, they fight each other, until (as in Highlander!) it remains the only one.

Photo: Eric Tourneret / Lightmediation/ Hepta / AFP

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