After lunch in the cafe, I headed for the first lecture. It was scheduled to be Giles Budge of the National Bee Unit but I gather he’s changed his job and is no longer on the lecture circuit. Instead we had Dr Gudrun Koeniger whose subject was natural balance. My notes are very sketchy and I may have lost concentration for a while (nodded off).
She started off by comparing wild and feral colonies. There are few wild colonies in Europe nowadays and so her studies were of Asian bees, particularly those of Borneo.
She spoke about the sting, from it’s origin as an ovipositor and it’s evolution among apocrita as a venom injector, comparing it with the ovipositor of other creatures such as the grasshopper. It is an effective weapon, especially as it remains in the skin of the enemy pumping in the venom. Despite being disrupted, the worker can live for several hours after losing her sting, if necessary following her target for long distances whilst trying to urge her sisters to follow her example.