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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How do bees know how to return to their hive after they forage?

I am sure you have at one time in your life seen a bee or a hive and wondered how a bee finds its way back to the hive after it has foraged for pollen. Having taken an entomology course in University I know how they do this. If you do not then check out this answer to the question I posed in the title of this blog entry by clicking on this link to the online edition of the New York Times website:

Source of image: 

Here is some interesting research about this behavior of bees I found online:

"A study has discovered that bumblebees can find their way home from over 13 km away, much further than was previously believed possible. A team from the University of Newcastle individually tagged approximately 100 bees belonging to the common species Bombus terrestris. The bees were then distributed randomly across northeastern England, and a monitor put on the hive. Between 20 and 30 of the bees returned to the hive.
This low figure has been attributed to “a lot of bees killed by predators and car windscreens”. What is most interesting though, is that a number of bees released in the Tyne Valley – 13 kilometres from the hive – made it home. Bumblebees generally forage in an area around the hive with a radius of more or less five kilometres. However, based on the new study, key researcher Dr Mark O’Neill told the BBC, “it is eminently possible for bumblebees to forage more than five kilometres from the nest”.
The study has yet to identify the physical reason for the bees’ innate sense of direction, but Dr O’Neill attributes it to the bees’ exceptionally good vision, and an ability to recognise landmarks. Bees also have an excellent sense of smell, and the team has now shifted their studies to include this aspect in their research."


Wow 13 km that is a long way, for a bee! A very long way!! It is interesting that in 2003 Scientists had another explanation for this behavior of bees to fly home to their hive which you can read about by going to this website: 

It seems again that we humans can learn from another species of life on our planet. While doing some searching in a search engine I found this amazing article which indicates that knowledge of how bees forage and return to their hive is being applied to understand how  to track  human serial killers! Check out this research at the following website: 

Wow, we sure can learn a great deal from bees!

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.