Honeybees and Humans: Our Place in the Universe.

This was Professor Robert Pickard’s lecture. I’ve heard it before but that doesn’t matter as he doesn’t follow a script and it is different and entertaining every time.  I was so busy paying attention to what he was saying that my notes are sporadic and largely illegible, so what follows is what I can glean from them as memory joggers.
Bees are social animals and therefore female dominated. Homo sapiens are herders and hunters and therefore male dominated. 14 billion (I’m not sure whether US or UK billions) years ago a tiny ball of energy exploded creating space and all that therein is. A few bits clumped together to form molcules of hydrogen and helium. They clumped together under gravity until they got too big for their boots and exploded into supernovae and in doing so created the heavier elements that form planets and us. At one stage in the creation of our solar system 2 planets collided and formed the Earth and the Moon, which is gradually moving away from us at a centimetre or two each year. Life developed on Earth, clinging to the surface like the skin on a hot rice pudding. 60% of honeybee genes are shared with humans.

For easy colony examination, displace it by moving it a few yards away and leaving something similar in its place to attract the older bees. Really you need to keep your hives on trolleys to achieve this and to have different coloured screens next to each one which you leave in place when the hive is moved.

Only honeybees and humans can communicate navigational information symbolically.  Our brain cells share the same architecture as theirs. 

When Von Frisch, who got the Nobel Prize for his description of bee dances, (although others, eg Pettigrew, had written in the previous century of the bee dances being a form of communication) moved a source of food to the far side of a mountain from the hive he was studying, so the bees had to fly around it to get at the food, they didn’t dance indicating the direction of flight, but the direction of the food.

That’s all I can remember.  After the lecture Professor Pickard presented the prestigious National Diploma in Beekeeping certificates to Simon Jones of Somerset and to Dan Basterfield of Devon.


About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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