Nanotechnology in general is a fascinating idea that is budding as we speak - the next AIRPORT TECHNOLOGY (reported on MSNBC) which is in production ISN'T retinal, finger print or other commonly thought recognition soft/hardware - it is DNA sniffers. Devices able to recognize you by your unique scent as you pass through the scanning device.
I enjoy skeptics (not talking about you Photokid, just a generalization) they need to use at least one of their five (not six or more) senses before they will believe in anything. "If you can't touch it, it must be an illusion" or "if you can't see it. it isn't there" these are hard-headed people who often lack imagination (not fantasy but expressive thought) because they can not LEAVE their box.
Some people seem to think the only things out there with a BRAIN are humans - all other creatures are just "there" to satisfy the needs of the food chain, those from microbes to the greatest species in our life time to walk the Earth - humans.
But humans are capable of miracles and monstrosities - they can achieve almost anything and are often too lazy to get out of their own way. But we tend to compare EVERY OTHER SPECIES to ourselves and in the process fail to see the greatness that these other creatures also covet.
Either side on the "Do your bees recognise you" can offer examples to prove their own point and disprove others points. I say, we have no more idea of what is happening in a bee's mind, then they have knowing what we think. You can argue that all you want, but BESIDES KNOWING that they are very anal-retentive, compulsive and meticulous - we don't really know what has carried over in the few hundred million years they have been around, at least not in their heads or the power pheromones have. Pheromones are like the engine in the hive's car - sure the hive is a car without the engine, but it isn't going anywhere, it's up on blocks in the drive way. Just because we can chemically reproduce a pheromone reaction from bees DOES NOT MEAN it is a COMPLETE fix (not the WHOLE ENCHALADA) replacement for the natural pheromone or could ever replace a healthy queen.
For the God believers, honeybees are miracle creatures made by a glorious God. I can't imagine God would create such a find creature, pack it with all the necessary ingredients to be the prolific insect that it is but leave out a conscious - again remove the pheromone and see what happens to that hive, couldn't the true pheromone be the conscious of the hive? I've seen queen-less hives and they are all but brain-dead zombies with no purpose or goals - spiritually they are void. I'm not just making stuff up as I go along, I believe that.
For the Non-God Believers, these are creatures with no conscious thought, just hopping around doing what they do to survive - still anal-retentive, but for no particular reason EXCEPT that it worked, so Darwinian theory MUST be right - the Retentive ones live and the lackadaisical ones are extinct.
I say GIVE YOUR BEES A BIT MORE CREDIT than to say they are just slaves to my bidding, and you will create a better environment for the bees to flourish in. I admit that some people have GREEN THUMBS in this hobby and no matter what they do, their hives will prosper and harvest abundantly. While someone with all the best intentions fail miserably at growing and seasoning hives - what is the difference, could it be chemical - prove that it isn't.
I'll end with a thought - I believe all living things (including the EARTH which I believe is a living organism made of all element from the periodic table) all these creatures, from us to the smallest of plants and even bacteria are part of a SINGLE LIFE FORCE - it is all energy in motion, one atom circling or moving within free space of all other atoms - microscopically their is no edge to a coffee table, it is just a different bunch of atoms with the same space between them.
Think of a jar full of marbles and no matter how different the marbles are, the space between them is made of basically the same stuff as the marbles - in a NANO-WORLD, one where string theory and multiple universe exist, all things are one - they are only shaped different when you zoom out far enough to distinguish a human from a honeybee. But get close enough in and stuff is stuff is stuff.
I believe that honeybees MAY be able to distinguish their beekeeper from a yard full of other beekeepers, why is THAT so difficult a concept for some people to "at least" ponder. Humans are way too rightious and self-centered in a Universe where they are so small and insignificant, don't you think???
A thought added later... When I was a boy, I had a younger brother who was severely handicapped. I remember often watching him in his wheelchair in our backyard and bumblebees would hover around him and literally watch my brother for many many minutes. It was fascinating to watch as they would maneuver from position to position to get different views of this man/machine which meant no harm to them.
To this day, I wonder what they were thinking - do they think? Some spiritually minded people would think of them as little guardian angels hovering around (it is amazing how still they can remain while in flight) and other people might say they had nothing going on in their heads - I'm more in lines with thinking that the bumblebees had some thought or conscious process going on - I know we all give human traits to our cats and dogs, each has a personality - why is it so hard to think other creatures can also have such traits???