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Author Topic: American Bee Journal (Sept 2010)-Sick Bees. Bees are warm blooded?  (Read 1729 times)
mathew
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« on: September 01, 2010, 12:39:22 PM »

I just read an article in ABJ by Randy Oliver titled Sick Bees. Very well written and was a good explanation on how CCD occurs. He dedicated several colonies to replicate how CCD occurs in the hive. I must say it is a very noble thing to do for the beekeeping community so we can watch out for symptoms in our own hives since it has been a mystery to us all for awhile now.

However, Randy mentioned that some of the viruses that affects bees like Nosema Ceranae and Chalkbrood only occurs when the temperature is cooler and when bees are chilled and therefore bees are warm blooded animals. In most beekeeping literature I've come across, always claim that bees are cold blooded.

Do you agree or disagree that bees are warm blooded?
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deknow
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2010, 03:50:31 PM »

individual bees are cold blooded...although like many cold blooded animals, they have techniques for 'warming up' by moving muscles.

as a superorganism, the bees are essentially warm blooded.  by regulating ariflow and by some bees concentrating on producing heat, the colony can heat and/or cool.

phil starks (a researcher at Tufts) has shown that when chalkbrood is introduced to a colony, they raise the temp....when the chalkbrood is removed, they let the temp fall back to normal.

deknow
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melliferal
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2010, 04:30:39 PM »

Zoologically-speaking, insects as a rule are cold-blooded.  The identifying trait is whether an animal can internally regulate its own body temperature.

That said, as deknow suggested, when you view an entire hive as a sort of meta-Gaia-esque single living thing, it can certainly act warm-blooded.
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mathew
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2010, 04:31:54 PM »

THat is a good breakdown explanation. Looking at bees as a superorganism to be warm blooded animals is convincing. In terms of maintaining warmth for brood to prevent chilling, requiring warm temperatures to produce wax and even flying. I've noticed on sunny winter days, when some bees take the courage to fly, they are unable to cover more than 20m before they fall from mid-air. Their flying muscles probably cramp up at low temperatures.
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mathew
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2010, 04:33:54 PM »

I correct myself, the inability to fly in cold temperatures is not part of the superorganism activity. Disregard that example.
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deknow
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2010, 04:41:21 PM »

it isn't?  are you sure?

could it be a sick or weak bee that can't effectively contribute to the workings of the superorganism?  could it be carrying a high pathogen or toxin load that needs to be removed from the superorganism?  could they have to poop so bad (from taking on demanding tasks like heating) that they do the colony more good dead in the snow than live and pooping in the cluster?

an analogy might be shedding a dead cell....we do it all the time.

deknow
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melliferal
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2010, 04:54:20 PM »

I would say it isn't because the inability to fly during cold weather is definitely a cold-blooded trait.

To clarify: whatever the reason the bee left the hive, when it gets so cold that it falls out of the sky, it doesn't die.  It can lay in the snow, for all intents and purposes frozen, but it's not dead because of the cold.  You take the poor girl inside and warm her up and she will be just fine.  In order to die, she has to starve to death.

Warm-blooded animals are not like that.  If they stay out in a temperature low enough that it interferes with their ability to stay warm, they'll die.
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deknow
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2010, 06:30:55 PM »

i don't buy it.  do you think a jar of bees in your freezer will revive after 24 hours?  48 hours?

wax moths are cold blooded insects.  freezing comb is a well tested (and reliable) way to kill larvae and eggs (as well as adult moths if they are present).

if you are under the impression that 'cold blooded' means that an organism can survive in suspended animation in a frozen state, you'd be mistaken.

deknow
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mathew
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2010, 06:34:21 PM »

Hey deknow,

Our bees will not poop in the cluster. If they can hold it in until a day that is suitable for flying, only then will they poop. But if they cannot hold it in, they probably would die in suspect that they are infected with Nosema C. spores. THe nosema C spores when sprouting ruptures the bee gut that causes lots of pain and kills the bee. I've also read that if you find lots of bee poo on the outer walls of the hive by the entrance especially in winter, your hive has Nosema C.

HOuse bees will actually kick their infected sisters out and will replace them in their roles if they are foragers. THis is a behaviour to protect the greater good of the hive.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2010, 07:35:23 PM »

I correct myself, the inability to fly in cold temperatures is not part of the superorganism activity. Disregard that example.
How can you know that?  The hive mind is highly evolved and complex.  Why couldn't the superorganism send out a bee in cold weather precisely BECAUSE the bee would not be able to come back in those conditions?  In order to remove disease etc.  That would make the inability to fly in cold temps a part of superorganism activity.  

I find this topic absolutely fascinating.  Thanks for bringing it up.
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deknow
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2010, 07:41:23 PM »

Our bees will not poop in the cluster.

generally, no they won't.  but generally they won't poop in the hive...and i've seen bees poop in a closed observation hive...immediately eaten up by another bee....leaving no evidence.

deknow
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deknow
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2010, 07:45:28 PM »

Quote
I've also read that if you find lots of bee poo on the outer walls of the hive by the entrance especially in winter, your hive has Nosema C.

nosema c. is much less likely to cause dysentery than than nosema m.  if you see staining on the outside (or inside in a bad infection) of the hive, it is likely nosema m. or some other cause of dysentary.  nosema c. causes the bees to be lethargic and stop eating (even when being fed).

deknow
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mathew
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2010, 08:02:10 PM »

Hey FrameShift,

I said "I correct myself, the inability to fly in cold temperatures is not part of the superorganism activity. Disregard that example." because I made a mistake in claiming that and I have nothing to back myself up to think that flying in cold temperature is a superorganism activity. I was making an observation of a bee that flew out into the cold while I opened the hive to take a peep into it during winter.

Yes I could also agree that the bee could have flown out because it was forced to by the rest which can be part of a superorganism activity.
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melliferal
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2010, 08:06:57 PM »

i don't buy it.  do you think a jar of bees in your freezer will revive after 24 hours?

Maybe, maybe not - but it will revive after three or four hours.  Why would it die after 48?  Because the bugs can't metabolize the honey "in their tank" (as it were) and thus starve to death.

Larvae is another story; they need to eat constantly, so any interruption of this would be lethal.
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mathew
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« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2010, 08:13:24 PM »

Deknow- I must have got mixed up with Nosema C. and Nosema Apis. Yes you are right that Nosema Apis is the disease that causes bees to have diarrhea. Oh what an interesting observation that you saw a bee poop and another bee eating it up. Yucks. Bee poop smells. But that is good to know. It is a luxury to be able to have an observation hive and challenge the thinking that bees don't poop in the hive. I guess there will always be that "black sheep" in the hive..haha...I remembered a day i did an inspection on the 1st day after a week and half of rain, my white bee suit was all covered with bee poop. It stank but not that bad.







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mathew
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« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2010, 08:14:52 PM »

Maybe, maybe not - but it will revive after three or four hours.  Why would it die after 48?  Because the bugs can't metabolize the honey "in their tank" (as it were) and thus starve to death.



You should do an experiment and then let us know. That will be fascinating to find out.
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mathew
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« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2010, 08:18:15 PM »



Maybe, maybe not - but it will revive after three or four hours.  Why would it die after 48?  Because the bugs can't metabolize the honey "in their tank" (as it were) and thus starve to death.

[/quote]

You should do an experiment and let us know. WIll be interesting to find out.
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melliferal
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« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2010, 08:44:00 PM »

Well I'm not really doing anything else, I suppose.  I'm visiting the yard this weekend; I'll bottle up a couple of bees and see what happens.
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deknow
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« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2010, 07:47:44 AM »

Why would it die after 48?  Because the bugs can't metabolize the honey "in their tank" (as it were) and thus starve to death.
i still don't buy it.  how much metablosim is going on at freezing temps?  not much.  Yes, they are cold tolleratnt, but insects that can actually survive frozen are specially adapted to do so (they have "anti freeze").  Honeybees are not such insects.

deknow
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