Wiggle, waggle, woo: Hey, Bee, Vote for Me!

The recent American election once again highlighted that electoral politics in the United States are very different in structure than in Canada – electoral colleges, simultaneous elections of Congress and Senate, ballot initiatives and the fact that based on remit of powers, an American President has far less influence over his country than a Canadian Prime Minister (PoliSci 101 and a great digression from our topic at hand!)

However, did you know that HONEYBEES also have their own elections, complete with smear campaigns, speechifying and converting as many undecided voters into supporters as possible? This week’s PBS’ Nova Science Now showed how Honeybees decide on a new nesting site. The knowledge was presented as part of understanding how information is shared and how the human brain may function more like a hive mind in and of itself than previously thought. Continue reading


A bad day to wake up as a honeybee. . .

As if colony collapse disorder wasn’t misery enough, now the beleaguered honeybee has parasitic flies to deal with as recently reported in Washington State. The parasitic flies are native, but have never been known to target honeybees, a European import. Flies lay their eggs in the bees, which cause erratic behaviour including leaving the hive at night and being unable to fly back, resulting in death. The erratic movement has been referred to as ‘zombie-like’. Rather unfortunate with Halloween coming up. Hopefully, the issues can be solved on the west coast!

Watch a video here on the Weather Network.


But Paul van Westendorp, provincial apiculturist at the BC Ministry of Agriculture, isn’t so sure that this is a new issue to be concerned about. He claims that the flies – scuttle flies, to be precise – lay their eggs in sick or dying bees which then leave the hive to prevent polluting the hive with their carcasses. At this time of year when food sources are more scarce, there is a concomitant increase in affected bees as they die off. So, the zombie bee is just a myth.