I skipped Carys Edwards’ lecture on Honey Showing as it isn’t a subject that interests me. Instead I went into the adjacent building and looked at the stalls there. The NBU had some frames with foulbrood on show and we had to put on plastic aprons and gloves to look at them. I hope they’re recyclable!
Then I went to the final lecture: Tom Seeley on the Bee Hive as an Information Centre. As he was setting up he saw me and said he’d been reading some of my poems. The first poem, Bees vs People, could almost be a description of the bees in the Ithaca Forest!
Tom told us that commercial companies are copying honeybees to allocate resources on computer services. The less profitable a nectar source, either through distance or weakness of nectar, the less vigorous is the waggle dance that vibrates the adjacent comb.
He described 2 frame observation hives, each with 4,000 bees individually labelled with a number on the thorax and a blob of colour on the abdomen. The bees were trained to feeders, which were moved step by step. The bees remembered the old position of the feeders.
Dancers, when they had found the feeders again reported direction, distance and desirability: the richer the food source, the longer the waggle dance and thus more bees recruited. Individual worker bees are individuals (like people!). Bees do not have to compare food sources as they have a built-in scale of goodness.
From honeybees to internet services: biomimicry for distribution management of internet hosting services, which is worth $50 billion a year! Honeybee algorhythms boosts the range by 10 – 20% so boosts revenue by $5bn – $10bn per annum!
That was the end of the lectures and was followed by looong drive home of over 200 miles. Next week I’m off to Gormanston. I spend far more time talking, listening and writing about bees than I do playing with them!