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Author Topic: A typical day in bee research  (Read 1406 times)

Offline downunder

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A typical day in bee research
« on: February 10, 2006, 09:07:21 PM »
Today we conducted a 12hr procedure to try and help answer one of Darwin's greatest dilemmas.

Why does woker sterility exist in social insects, when they would be more related to their own offspring than the queens.

This leads on from the work regarding worker policing and anarchistic bees which we have been studying for over 10 years now.

Anarchistic eggs appear to be policed less than wild type eggs. One of the reasons for this may be extremely subtle chemicals on the eggs that may make them appear to be layed by a queen. Normally worker laid eggs in a queen right colony are policed and eaten by other workers. In an anarchist hive they are not. Laying goes on right beside the queen and the eggs are reared into viable drones and not policed.

* The objective today was to get five eggs from 4 anarchistic colonies and 4 wild type colonies. Sounds easy? Here's the catch.

*The eggs must be layed by the queen on new comb. The queen must lay the eggs without worker bees on the comb she lays them in.

*The day before I made up wooden cages 10cm by 10cm with a bee exclusion mesh on them.

*To get the queens feeling non-stressed this mesh allowed the bees heads into the cage to feed and groom her (but their thorax could not fit through.

*Queens were confined in cages to the combs in all of the eight colonies.

*Then the waiting game, will they be comfortable enough to lay?

*10 Hours later the combs were remove queens released and confined comb sections were inspected. 7 of the combs contained grater than 5 eggs but less than 10. 1 queen did not lay. Made it by the skin of my teeth.

*The eggs were not layed normally. Often they were on top of the comb and sometimes in clumps of 3 eggs etc. Obviously they were not comfortable with this bee free situation.

*The eggs were removed with probes and placed into special glass vials. The eggs were then washed in 30 microlitres of hexane each (to remove intefering substances). This was then allowed to evaporate before tubes were sealed.

*The next day eggs are of in the post to Sheffield UK for analysis.

*Will it yeild a result? Maybe, Maybe not, but this is a typical day that may help unlock a key and help us understand more the mysterious bee.

For more information on anarchist bees and other projects please look at the following links.




Offline Finsky

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A typical day in bee research
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2006, 06:01:48 AM »
Yes, seems to be normal life  :shock:

Those were interesting articles, but not easy to understand all details. I translated some pieces to Finnish beeforum.

I have told on forums about worker laying how it happens, but still people shake that "secret worker queen" onto  lawn before they put new queen to the hive.

I shaked 40 years ago once and hat is enough. I use to put larva frame to queenless hive so thay have oppotunity to raise queen cell. It normalize their life and it reveals if they have somewhere unmated queen. When emergy cells are capped they like to receive new queen.

Before that I offer queen. If they do not react queen I let them keep it. If they try to pull queen somehow  I took queen off.

Offline downunder

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A typical day in bee research
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2006, 07:58:54 AM »
We have a 12 year old line of Anarchistic bees maintained by Artificial Insemination.

The line is so strong that over 80% of the workers develop ovaries and lay eggs while the queen functions normally beside them. When sufficient pollen is around the whole colony breaks down in a frenzy of disorder. It is an amazing sight, hence the term Anarchy!

With 80% of the workers laying eggs not much work gets done. With all those drones being raised a hive soon starves.

Honey and sealed brood must be added reguarly. Sometimes this is enough to supress the behaviour and return normality to the hive.

Dr Oldroyd's Bee-Lab has confirmed its genetic as we can breed it true. They are very close to knocking out the Gene using RNA interference. If they find it it will unlock the key worker reproduction in social insects. It is beleived to be the same gene responsible for ovary supression in ant and wasp workers as well.