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Society in a Box

SOCIETY IN A BOX A HONEYBEE'S LIFE, DEATH AND WORLD When a scout worker has successfully located food, it alerts its fellow foragers about the food's location with a series of dance moves. Through the number of turns, the duration of the dance and THE THE Theoldest known honey- bee specimen dates from 100 million years ago. Actual size, 04-0.6 in. (5-15 mm) BASICS DAN CE the moves themselves, the scout can communicate the distance to the food, the angle of the food to the sun and Humans have been keeping honeybees for thousands of years, yet the insects still mana ge to surprise us. Lost in the debate over what is causing the dea th of bees is how intricately complex their lives are, from the tiniest brood to the virgin queen. After all, what other invertebrate communicates by dance? The 17th century naturalist Jan Suammer- dam discovered that the king bee had ovaries and was, in fact, a queen. whether it is near or far. The scout dances in a figure-eight shape to tell ot her workers to fly toward the sun. The The angle at which the Sscout dances WORKER DRONE QUEEN Construction, storage, keeping the nursery, guarding, caretaking, scouting and foraging -ALEXANDER ACIMAN AND HEATHER JONES Mates with a virgin queen in midair. Can fly backward, rotate and flip. Lays up to 1,500 eggs a day, possibly more. Secretes pheromones to control workers. gives the angle of the food source relative to the DUTIES In 1923 scientist Rudolf Steiner predicted that within r00 years artificial cultivation of honeybees would have mumber of dance patterns in a given time indiaates distance. hive and the WING sun. HOOKS THE ANATO MY Hooks enable the bee to attach one of each set of wings together du ring flight for maximum efficiency. severe consequences on the bee population. IFE SPAN 20-30 days Dies after mating 3-7 years EYES Bees have five of them-twolarge compou nd eyes and three ocelli used to detect light intensity. бо- WINGS FOOD FOOD Abeehastwo sets of wings. Rapid flapping generates warmth and evaporates water from nectar to make honey. Things you may not know about Apis mellifera A worker's eyes have nearly 7,000 lenses. HIVE HIVE HONEY NEARBY ROUND DANCE STOMACH ELECTROSTATIC A second reser voir where nectar is temporarily stored before being regurgitated. CHARGE A charge on the bee's hairattractspollen. STING When a bee THEROBOBEE stings, a barb prevents the stingerfrom. being pulled out; the bee thentearsits abdomen while freeing itsel before dying. Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences conducted the first successful flight of a life-size robotic fly in 2007. The lab has received $10 million in grant money from the National Science Foundation to build a THE FUTURE THE PROBOSCIS The air tig ht, strawlike tubesucks up nectar and also works in reverse to network of autonomous artificial bees. feedoffspring from a honey stom ac h. ARTIFICIAL MUSCLES CAN BEAT WINGS 120 TIMES PER SECOND WAX PLATES LEGS Brushes scrape pollen from front to back, where it collectsinthe pollen baslet, a sac attached to the rear leg. Bees secrete wax beneath plates on their abdomen and use it to build honeycomb. AIRFOILS ROTATE INDEPEN DENTLY MANDIBLE VENOM The jaws help bite and pack pollen as well as shape wax for building honeycomb. The unique mixture of chemica ls that causes a stingto hurt may play a role in stopping the spread of HIV, whichvenom has been shown to destroy. WEIGHS 80 MG APPLICATIONS In a single trip, a worker bee can visit THE BREEDS 1/12 teaspoon In order to produce 1 lb. (0.4 kg) of honey, hive workers fly a collective 55,000 miles (89,000 km) THE HIVE • SEARCH AND RESCUE • ARTIACIAL POLLINATION • COVERT SURVEILLANCE • HIGH-RESOLUTION WEATHER There are 20,000 species of bees worldwide, but only six main types are kept commercially: Amount of honey a worker bee will produce during its short life A colony typica lly comprises 20,000 to 30,000 bees. Although it has long been believed that bees hibernate in the win ter, the colony creates AND CLIMATE MAPPING • TRAFAC MONITORING up to 100 flowers and a winter ecosystem inside the hive and lives off honey, with the bees maintaining wa rmth by working their wings. Middle-aged worker bees build by attaching each comb to the walls of the hive-a process that often requires more than 2 Ib. (1 kg) of wax. carry more than half its and tap 2,000,000 $15 billion ITALIAN CAUCASIAN Saurces: Washing ton Lniversity School af Medicine; PBS; USDA; Rager A. Morse and Nicholas W.Calderane, Comel Lniversity, Bee/Rase-Lyrn Fisher; Nationa Geographic; Harvard School af Eng ineering and Applied Sciences; Encydopaedia Britarvica; Bees/Lectures by Rudolf Steiner, North Carolina State College of Agricuture and Life Sciences; University af linais at Lrbana-Champagn we ight in pollen Estimated annual amount RUSSIAN GERMAN flowers by which bee pollination increases crop value CARNIOLAN BUCKFAST Photograph by Tom Schierlitz for TIME Although many crops are only partially dependent on bee pollination, Almond Apple Asparagus Avocado Broccoli Blueberry Onion Cherry Cucumber Celery Plum/prune Watermelon Tangerine THE IMPACT ON THE others, like the almond, FARM cannot get by without it. According to the USDA, one-third of the food in our diet relies to some extent 100% 90% 90% 90% 90% 90% 90% 80% 80% 80% 65% 65% on bee pollination.

Society in a Box

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Humans have been keeping honeybees for thousands of years, yet the insects still manage to surprise us. Lost in the debate over what is causing the death of bees is how intricately complex their lives...

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