9/12/09

The beekeepers are taking over.

The Los Angeles Backwards Beekeepers are becoming a force to be reckoned with. Kirk put out a notice yesterday on our Yahoo Group that there was a swarm available near 6th and Pico, and Thomas leaped at the opportunity.


He writes:


Turns out that it wasn’t difficult at all. I just followed the directions from the video and it worked like a charm. The swarm was not that big. Maybe the volume of a football.

I didn’t get a single sting! But I did notice that one bee must have stung something as is guts popped out.

Btw, can anyone explain why, evolutionarily speaking, it would be advantageous for a bee to die when it stings? Ie, what advantage does the barb in their stinger have?

Stacy adds:

The barb in the stinger guarantees that it stays in whatever got stung in the case of mammals and birds. The bits ripped out of her abdomen will continue to pump venom into the stingee after she's been brushed away. Evolutionarily speaking, this means they do more damage than they might with a single pricking motion, and thus hurt their stingees more, thereby creating a stronger aversion about attacking hives.

Other species of bee who lack the barb (like bumble bees) can sting more than once.

Additionally, according to Wikipedia, apparently the barb helps with penetration in exoskeletons in the case of marauding bees and wasps in the nest. Under these conditions, worker bees can theoretically sting more than once. I couldn't pin down where they sourced that tidbit as it's not a commonly conveyed idea.

Check out more photos of Thomas' swarm capture.

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