Thursday, November 5, 2009

Will We Destroy Food - The Bees?

There has been concern in the past ten years or so about the mysterious disappearing of entire groups or hives of bees.

Bee keepers and scientists alike share the concern, and we who rely on the bees should too:

It has been stated by several biologists that, if it were not for the honey bee pollinating plants, humans would only last 3 or 4 years as our food supply would disappear [but see here].

(Space). How it got to this is debatable, but we can agree to describe the bee / human relationship not as symbiotic, because the bees do not rely on us in return in the way we rely on them.

We are intelligent but they are intelligent too. A professor was doing an experiment, moving a source of nectar 25% further away each day, testing their navigation skills.

His student charged with the duty of calculating and moving the nectar each day called in one morning reporting to the professor that he had car problems and could not do the task on that day. The professor opted to do it himself:

When the professor arrived at the nectar source there were no bees present. But when he arrived at the place where the nectar should have been for that day (but had not been moved there yet), there were all the bees waiting for him! Not only had the bees gotten the math correct (25% farther), but the implication is that they had demonstrated the imagination to be able to picture the future by picturing the nectar—not where it was—but where it was going to be! The professor wrote that he would never have done such an experiment on purpose since he never would have thought that the bees could have been so intelligent!

(ibid, Space, link above). Those of you who read the biomimicry posts know that one of the tenets of Ecocosmology urges us to remember that we can learn about how to bring about our own survival by watching and studying nature appropriately.

Learning such behavior from nature is called biomimicry.

We must also be careful to not destroy the bees or their habitat, because then we could cease to exist as well, according to some scientists.

The next post in this series is here.


Alice de Tocqueville said...

Hi, Dredd!

I found your comment about the truck full of bees tragedy. (great minds, etc.) The truly ironic thing is that this very transportation of bees to aid agribiz is being studied as a possible cause of hive collapse.

Dredd said...

Hi Alice,

Interesting. One of these days those who think they are the powers that bee (uh oh pun) will have to think again.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I read this posting (and the one elsehere that it was linked from) while Deja Vue was on TV, a time travel movie. I just saw, and was thinking about Episode 5 of the TV series "Through the Wormhole" and that episode deals with 'the sixth sense' as it is being studied within the contemporary framework of quantum physics as the movie started. An interesting confluence.

One of the theories regarding the sixth sense postulates that the magnetic field of the planet is the conduit for it. It's a fascinating episode and I've read about some of the studies and study related science elsewhere. It's cool.

Your posting brings this to mind in dealing with the bees having learned to anticipate the future. If the current research is correct we all anticipate the future and can actually influence it through anticipation.

Bees are smart with a sophisticated hive culture (as are we) but maybe there's more at work than linear intelligence with the bees- as I recall homing/migratory creatures use the Earth's magnetic field. Maybe they're tapping into a mechanism we as yet don't understand or appreciate.

If you get a chance to check out season02e05 of TtW give it a watch, you might find it interesting.

Dredd said...

A new series of studies link bee hive degeneration to chemical poisons: Mystery of the Disappearance of Bee Colonies Solved