reversible chemical tags

Discussion in 'Beekeeping Biology' started by Big Bear, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Big Bear

    Big Bear New Member

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    A recent article in "The Guardian" a week or so ago discusses the chemical influences that motivate bees to take on roles or tasks at certain ages while other bees adopt other roles at those same ages.

    They refer to these as "reversible chemical tags".

    Beekeepers have known of the "reversible" part as bees who follow a swarm have altered their abilities regardless of age to take on tasks such as wax building and tending brood, etc.. that they normally had left behind as they grew older.

    While the "discovery" of such reversible chemical tags is interesting, I am curious as to what triggers these tags into effect.

    Is it pre-determined in a bees DNA? Is it triggered by the presence or perhaps more likely a lack of presence of particular pheromones inside the hive?

    I wonder.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Is it just possible, however slim, that the bees just "know"? We always tend to slough off decisions that they make based simply on the presence, or absence, of pheromones.
    Is it impossible to believe (however remote) that bees have the ability to "think"?
    Thomas Seeley in his book Honey Bee Democracy seems to lend credence to the bees ability to make a democratic decision (one not controlled by pheremones).
    We may be overlooking the obvious?
    Hmmmm?
     

  3. Big Bear

    Big Bear New Member

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    I agree with you that the capability of bees intellectually choosing to take up the tasks they do is possible.

    They do learn and make spontaneous decisions which makes it seem all the more plausible, at least to me.

    I know there are a lot of folks who would put the idea in the realm of anthropomorphism, but I am not suggesting bees thinking in the same terms of human intellect, but of their own, unique version.

    Dr. Seely's book makes an interesting case for the hive mind. If we look at the colony as a super organism, one might suggest the bees themselves are the synapses of the hive mind providing thousands of communications simultaneously.

    Are bees self aware? Do they see themselves individually or as part one one larger entity (ie.. the super organism, the "hive mind") That would be a big part in assuming one from a variety of tasks as they go through their lives if they do so of conscientious choice.

    things that make you go "hmmmm."
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  4. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Take an extreme case even thought it is undesirable. Laying workers. I have heard and assume it is fairly well known that this is due to lack of queen pheromone in the hive. I have also heard it may be due to lack of brood pheromone so the exact cause I don't think can be definitely stated. but still this is an altered behavior considered to be caused by pheromones.

    We can conjuncture a bit about what happens to the older foraging bees upon returning to a hive that does not have adequate wax production or comb building goign on. This bee or some bee it passes it's load to has no place to dump it. Possible this state of being a temporary storage unit has something to do with altered behavior. This would indicate that is some way need prompts behavior still with a lack of thought or planning.

    production of queen cells I also have heard is prompted by lack of brood.

    That bees behavior is reactionary to their environment goes along way to explain how they appear to be organized. Foraging is a result of bees that forage for reason I don't know that return with nectar to share and spread around the colony. introducing what I consider the real stimulus for other bees to forage. What prompts the original forager to leave the hive and search for food. Is it searching for food or just searching until it happens to come across something, anything worth gathering?

    As Big Bear says so well. Makes you go Hmmmmm?
     
  5. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Hmmmmmmmm. I'm very familiar with that. :grin:
     
  6. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I'm "listening" to the number of Hmmmmmmmmmmms that are sounding over the internet as more and more beeks read this thread. I think I "hear" a super-sized orchestra Hmmmmmmmmmmmming in harmony. :lol:
     
  7. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    As long as there is a communication going on among the bees, everything is good.:grin:
    Jay Smith experimented with older bees (foragers) and when situation changed in the hive, those would become nursing bees again, and he believed they were better nurses than young bees. Proof for him was that europian foul brood was never developed in the first brood cycle, when older bees were nursing, only later when old bees are gone and new ones took over the nursing task.
    That really makes me Hmmmm