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Author Topic: Do your bees know you?  (Read 9644 times)
The Bee Man
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« on: May 17, 2006, 09:26:11 AM »

I never did a study on it, and I believe the answer to be no, but, some beekeepers swear that their bees know their scent (the scent of the beekeeper).  I myself find this idea a little difficult to swallow.  It is a pleasant, fanciful notion, and it has a lot of appeal, but, speaking frankly, do you all think that the bees know you from Adam?  I say that they do not, but I am willing to have my eyes opened to another view.
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photokid
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2006, 11:20:08 AM »

My bees used to greet me with head butting for about a month when I first started beekeeping. They stopped after that. I believe it's your demeanor, your scent, how nervous you are, etc. The only people who have been stung out of nowhere who have come to visit were annoying, smelly people.
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Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2006, 11:20:56 AM »

Answer is no.

If you put blue shirt on you they attach. When you have white shirt they do not care you. If you go to windy side of hive and you odor goes into hive, bees get nervous.  When your odor go away, they say nothing.

There is no reason why you are their friend and bees have not friends, just enemies when they protect their hive.
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Finsky
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2006, 11:28:48 AM »

A human has in his brains face center where is able to store 1,5 million face. When he meet another person, brains compare persons face to the memory center. If you are not there, you are unknown.  The size of center is 1/3 of brains.

Do you think that nature has developed human face memory center into bees brains?
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Understudy
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2006, 11:56:14 AM »

The bees recycle about every 40 days. Of that the older ones are the foragers and guards.  You bees don't get time to know you. And probaby don't want to get to know. Your bees don't like you. They don't care about you and are not fond of the fact that you come into their home and tear it up.

They are just waiting for you to make the wrong move that will give them a target  to lock onto. They are hoping you will stand upwind so when you breath they know that the carbon dioxide you emit is coming from your mouth and areas around that is a good area to attack.  

Bees may tolerate you invasion because we have been breeding bees to be docile. Being a pacifist doesn't mean they like you. It just means they will put up with you.

I think if it were true after a few weeks of working on AHBs they would let you work on the hive without needing a spacesuit. Well for the south american beekeepers who raise AHBs, they still used extra protection everytime.

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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2006, 01:06:46 PM »

nope, they dont care who it is if you messing with the hive....
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Summerbee
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2006, 02:02:24 PM »

Has anyone read the article in 'Science News' about honeybees and face recognition? Here's a link with the article, I couldn't use the science news site b/c it's subscribers only:  http://www.physorg.com/news8953.html

Basically it shows that bees can differentiate faces.  Different photographs of human faces were placed at sugar solutions or bitter ones.  Over time the bees learned to associate the appropriate faces with the various solutions, avoiding the ones connected with the bitter solution and flocking to the ones with sugarwater.

I don't know if this would apply to many beekeepers, b/c most wear veils which may obscure the face too much for recognition...  But it is interesting!
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fcderosa
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2006, 03:00:20 PM »

While every logical bit of reason tells me bees can’t tell us apart, experience dictates otherwise.  I’ve gotten use to working around my hives in a black T-shirt and baseball hat and haven’t gotten stung.  I accidently hit a hive with a shovel wearing the same (a true Darwin moment), as they came out of the hive I waited for it to happen – it didn’t.  They buzzed around me a little then went back in the hive.  Well, I had gotten a little lax from their behavior.  I put another hive in this year from a package. I walked up to the hives to check the feeder and was headbutted within 10 feet of the hive; had to go back to the truck and hood up.  Will they stop after a while?  The other ones did. I’ve also worked some feral bees for a friend and those bees are not nice – they were the menacing little monsters looking for a chink in the armor – like up pants legs.  The bees also react differently towards people approaching the hives.  I don’t know if it’s sight or scent but they do react differently.  Might be the magic word is Pheromones. cheesy
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2006, 01:10:54 AM »

I hate to disagree with Finsky since he is so knowledgeable but my own experience is that the bees do recongize their keeper.  However, how well he is welcomed can depend on what he's had to eat.  
Sweet drinks will draw the bees to hoover in front of your veil.  Caffiene products (coffee and soda drinks) will made the bees angry and increase your chances of getting stung--they will actually bounce off your veil.  Alcohol drives them insane, going into bees right after having a few beers will make the keeper think they've turned AHB.  Other foods that have an adverse affect are raw onions, garlic, and boiled cabage.
Run your own experment, I did, and I found it to be true; that specific odors of foodstuffs can change bees behavior.
If you go into your bees more frequrntly than every 40 days--and who doesn't?--the memory gets continually re-imprinted.
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Finsky
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2006, 02:42:21 AM »

It needs imagination to believe that bees know you. Why they should?

Their instinct is to protect their hive and property inside. They kill other bees which try to be their friends = robbers. Robber act like friend and try to go in.

If you have caucasian bees, world's kindest bees, do they know you when they not attach.  

What about feral bees (Tasmanian black ones) or africanized? Do they know you when attach and follow 50 meter. And other people which come near they attach. Do they know or not?  

When bees are angry, they attach against everything which move.

WHAT MEANS TO "KNOW ME": ATTACH OR SMILE ? DO BEES SMILE?

DO I HAVE EVEL HIVES AND BAD HIVES?
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downunder
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2006, 09:12:49 AM »

It's true that bees have individual memory and can recognise scent. We do experiments where we harness individual bees and subject them to various scents and measure tounge responses. Their ability to retain this information for a certain degree of time is quite amazing.

There are many highly involved factors that affect their ability to do this. For example;- brood reared at various different temperatures between 31-37 deg C had varying memory capacity (measured by tounge response to odours)

As for them recognising facial features, I see this as no different than recognising a triangle, hexagon, square or whatever. It's the fact that they have been trained to it and had it imprinted in their memory.

Take the food source away and within a day your facial features will be forgotten!

A bees temperament varies widely due to many factors. heat, cold, wind, moisture, floral food source (citrus flowers respond to light, can make bees very angry), nectar and pollen dearth, disturbances, pest attack (numerous SHB's aggrevate colonies and make them aggresive), queens health and productivity, colony size (more guards plus dilution of QMP)just to name a few.

With all this changing regularly it's hard for them to get use to anything. I wouldn't.

In the human's case it's not so much scent they get use to but the lack of it. Generally beekeepers know what makes them narky!  Once their pheromones are disturbed all hell can break loose.
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downunder
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2006, 09:21:31 AM »

The last line of this article I think sum's it up, spoken by a colleague of mine

Francis Ratnieks of Sheffield University in Sheffield, U.K., says that apparent bee revenge attacks of this sort actually occur because a torn-off stinger releases chemicals that signal alarm to nearby hivemates. Says Dyer, “bees don’t normally go around looking at faces.”


Quote from: Summerbee
Has anyone read the article in 'Science News' about honeybees and face recognition? Here's a link with the article, I couldn't use the science news site b/c it's subscribers only:  http://www.physorg.com/news8953.html

Basically it shows that bees can differentiate faces.  Different photographs of human faces were placed at sugar solutions or bitter ones.  Over time the bees learned to associate the appropriate faces with the various solutions, avoiding the ones connected with the bitter solution and flocking to the ones with sugarwater.

I don't know if this would apply to many beekeepers, b/c most wear veils which may obscure the face too much for recognition...  But it is interesting!
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2006, 09:40:06 AM »

I believe they LEARN YIUR STYLE of beekeeping - if you inspect enough times during their life and that they can "detect" and "respond" to any smell or STYLES you have about you.

If you are the smelly guy who savagely rips apart their home every few days - believe me, the know you as a predator, but if you are the fellow who comes and works around them seamlessly (you doing your thing, them doing theirs) then I believe you will get a relaxed almost inperceivable response.

Do they know YOU over the life of a hive - some people say though that there is a homogeneous relationship between the queen's pheromone and the beekeeper - imagine (if you will) an acceptance transmitted from the queen which instinctively notifies the workers (of countless generations from this queen) that YOU are accepted. Sounds a bit "out there" so does a mother knowing her own baby penguin among a beach of 5 million penguins, but it happens. Olfactory is OUR GREATEST SENSE couldn't it be that of our hairy little honeybees too?

Stop thinking of the world in black and white - it is a rainbow of millions of colors and concepts - most of which we will never comprehend because we are merely humans and only at the TOP of the food chain because we have brains and dexterity to create better weapons.

Toss us in to a lion cage naked and see who wins - I will put my money onthe lion EVERY TIME!
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AdmiralD
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2006, 10:08:27 AM »

Whose the guy who holds the record for the amount of honey from a single hive [around 400 lbs], lived [lives] around Monerry California, and wrote  2 books about beekeeping back in the 80's?

Anyway, he says that bees know thier beekeeper....And any new hive, has to get used to the keeper...He suggested old clothing hung near the hive...The bees will butt that for a while, but get used to this "person" hanging around and ignore the clothing....Then they tend to be less agressive around the keeper...

I have not tried this...as yet...
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downunder
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2006, 10:30:38 AM »

Sorry, It sounds very out there to me!

Whilst the norm is to think a queen is in charge and has the ability to control a hive it is often not the case. In the presence of a queens pheromones worker bees ovaries are suppressed. Remove that queen and their ovaries begin to activate due to no QMP present (survival mechanism, only way to get their DNA to next generation).  

In some colonies (ANARCHISTS), the workers are in charge right beside a healthy productive queen. They are believed to lay and mark their eggs with a queen mimicking pheromone that cannot be identified by policing workers. The result of this is that they are able to deceive a colony in order to get their genes to the next generation. In an active anarchist colony over 80% of the workers eventually switch on their ovaries and lay eggs, ultimately leading to chaos and the demise of the hive. This trait is coded in it's genes as we are able to breed it. What is interesting is the hives function normally until a pollen flow. Then the anarchy genes are switched on and the "normal" pheromonal communication system is by-passed by these sneaky workers.

The point I'm making is that pheromones are just chemical cues that elicit a response. It's likely that the calm non-smelly beekeeper doesn't intefere much with it's transmission through the hive. Drop a few frames and see what happens! Alarm pheromone galore and you have a whole new ball-game.

You would have to be in your hive almost daily for a queen to identify with your scent. Two days after training feeding, odour cue experiments finish, the memory is lost. As for then being able to transmit your scent to future generations. They didn't evolve with humans so what reason would there be for this. They are very trusting if they can!

Sure they get use to being manipulated regularly and well managed hives stay relatively calm but change your brand of soap or deoderant and see what happens.

Just my opinion, but hey I'm not the creator Cheesy
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photokid
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2006, 11:04:52 AM »

In one experiment, I have a BA in Biology, researchers would move a sugar water source a certain predetermined distance every day further away from the hive. By the third or fifth day or week, I have to reread this now, the bees were already at the new location when the researcher arrived with their sugar water. Very smart, I guess we're kinda predictable.

Bees can prepare for a flow or a dearth. How do they know all this? We have so much to learn from these fabulous creatures. I wouldn't be surprised if they did recognize us, but my scientific background keeps me skeptical. This would be a great experiment and the results would very likely lead to incredible new technologies.

Ever heard of nanobacteria? Keep your minds open, because for all we know, we have barely scratched the surface.
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Finsky
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2006, 11:25:57 AM »

Lets believe that bees know me and my scent.

When I am lookin bees in flowers, they escape me - tell me why?  On my yard, in the nearby forest. But not on drinking pool. Why bees do not escape from drinking pool when they see that someone moves.
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photokid
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2006, 11:34:17 AM »

Maybe they got drunk on chlorine? The ones that don't escape my "be gone" almond spray used for clearing supers act a little slow sometimes.
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Finsky
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2006, 11:42:20 AM »

Quote from: photokid
Maybe they got drunk on chlorine? .


I have not chlorine in my pools or ponds Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2006, 11:45:32 AM »

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???
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