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Researchers Recently Documented The First Ever Case Of A Motherless Honey Bee With Two Fathers

Researchers Recently Documented The First Ever Case Of A Motherless Honey Bee With Two Fathers

Honey bee reproduction is very different from mammalian reproduction. Humans and other mammals possess cells with two sets of chromosomes, making most mammals diploid organisms. Honey bees, on the other hand, are categorized as haplodiploid. This is because queen honey bees possess two chromosomes per cell while drones have only one chromosome per cell. This means that the exclusively male drones only develop from eggs that were not fertilized by sperm. Female worker bees are born from eggs that were fertilized with male sperm, making them diploid organisms. However, in one to two percent of cases, sex-mixed honey bee offspring can develop. These mixed-sex bees are known as “gynandromorphs” and they develop from many cell lines of different origin and different sex.

While scientists know that gynandromorph honey bees develop from genetic mutations, it is not clear why and how these mutations occur. In an effort to better understand how gynandromorph bees develop, researchers collected gynandromorphs from one single colony before analyzing the DNA contained within tissue samples taken from different areas of each specimen’s body. The DNA showed that these mixed sex bees had three or four parents, most of which had either two or three fathers to the one queen mother. This was expected, but what was not expected were the bees that proved to originate from two fathers only. This is the first recorded case of a motherless bee with two fathers.

When it comes to mammalian reproduction, only one sperm can enter an egg. This is because a chemical reaction occurs within the egg that prevents more than one sperm from entering. But honey bees can develop from two sperm that fuse to an egg. This phenomena is known as “polyspermy,” and this is probably how gynandromorph honey bees develop. However, no research publication has ever described a honey bee born from the fusion of two sperm. Until the discovery of the motherless bee with two fathers, it was thought impossible for two sperm to fuse to create offspring, but the results of this recent study suggest that this was how the unique and extremely rare motherless bee offspring developed.

Have you ever heard of any other insect species in which offspring can develop from the fusion of two sperm within a female egg that does not contain a nucleus?

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A Walmart Store Was Swarmed With Bees, Sending Shoppers Into A Panic

Many consumers prefer to buy their products at the nearest local Walmart, as their prices tend to be lower than other competing chains, such as Target. Although Walmart’s prices are hard to beat, some people find the Walmart shopping experience to be less than enjoyable. For those who need an excuse to avoid Walmart, a recent bee-related event at a Walmart location may provide Target shoppers with a reasonable excuse to avoid the popular, but overcrowded shopping center. A couple of weeks ago, Walmart shoppers ducked for cover as an enormous bee swarm accessed the store.

Video surveillance cameras that are located prominently throughout the Walmart location caught footage of the recent bee swarm that left customers scared for their lives. This response is understandable, given the likelihood that at least one of the many Walmart shoppers present at the time possessed known allergies to bee stings. This horrifying event occured within a Walmart location in Eldridge, Texas. According to ABC News, a spokesperson for Walmart stores claimed that the situation is being looked into.

This is not the first unfortunate bee-related event to occur within the state of Texas this year, as a man in Wallis was recently stung 600 times by Africanized honey bees. For those not familiar with Africanized honey bees, they are more commonly referred to as “killer bees.” The man had been mowing his lawn when the killer bees descended upon him. The man was hospitalized for three days, but luckily, he survived. Not only did this man sustain hundreds of stings from the most aggressive bees in the world, but his survival is all the more amazing when you consider the fact that the killer bees had stung the inside of his mouth and throat. Earlier this summer, an 81 year old man sustained numerous bee stings while landscaping his yard. This man sustained 135 bee stings on his head alone. If you want to avoid bee stings, then avoid Texas, especially Walmart stores in Texas.

Do you think that it is not unusual for bees to swarm into human populated indoor areas?



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Scientists Cannot Understand Why Smoke Calms Bees

It is not hard to believe that most insects do not respond well to smoke. In fact, tobacco is smoked by some people as an effective method of repelling mosquitoes. While some types of smoke may be less irritating than others, smoke, in general, is far from soothing. Unless, of course, the insects in question are honey bees. Surprisingly, ancient Egyption art depicts beekeepers of the time blowing smoke into beehives in order to avoid being stung. It seems that smoke was understood to be a method of soothing aggressive bees as far back as 2,500 years ago, and this method is still being used by modern beekeepers. Despite this, scientists have yet to understand exactly why bees respond to smoke in this particular way. 

In an effort to understand the peculiar calming effects of smoke on aggressive bees, researchers exposed the insects to the smoke that is produced by the combustion of two different materials. The smoke released from one of these burning materials, burlap, is used by modern beekeepers, and the other, spent hops, is a recycled product of hop flowers that results from their use in beer production. Considering the fact that bees produce sugar-rich honey that is highly appetizing and sought after by many insect species, bees must be physically capable of protecting their hives from intruders looking to gorge themselves on the sweet substance. This is why some worker bees provide guard duty around the hive. When these guard bees detect a threat, they extend their stingers in defense. Since smoke seems to calm aggressive honey bees, researchers expected at least one type of smoke to prevent worker bees from extending their stinger in a defensive manner. However, this did not happen.

After disturbing the bees with electric shocks, they still extended their stingers. When the shocks became particularly intense, bee stingers released a droplet of venom, but they did not do this when hop smoke was released into the hive. This indicates that hop smoke, while not disabling a bees defensive response entirely, did, indeed, work to prevent the release of venom. A bee’s inability to release venom when exposed to hop smoke proves that hop smoke does have an overall calming effect on aggressive bees. Researchers believe that a chemical in hops known as lupulin has sedative effects on a bee’s nervous system.

Do you think that tobacco smoke could have the same sedative effect on bees?




Thieves Make-Off With Two Million Honey Bees | Phoenix Bee Removal

Thieves Make-Off With Two Million Honey Bees | Phoenix Bee Removal

Having your possessions stolen is never fun, and this is why we keep our valuables in safe places. When it comes to preventing thefts, people may buy safes, or even hide their valuables before leaving home. Obviously, common thieves are after your most valuable possessions, as there are not too many thieves around who want to steal toiletry items from people’s homes. In big cities, like New York or Los Angeles, residents are understandably concerned with the high rate of robberies and petty thefts. It goes without saying that residents of bigger cities should always keep their valuables under lock and key. Of course, America is not the only place where high theft rates exist. For example, in the city of Skåne, Sweden, the rate of thefts are particularly high. However, in this city, thieves don’t seem concerned with getting their hands on your typical valuables, such as jewelry or electronics; instead, this city sees high rates of beehive thefts.

Every year in Skåne between fifty and one hundred beehives are stolen from beekeepers. The most recent beehive heist saw thieves make-off with at least two million individual bees of the Apis mellifera species. This was the largest theft of its kind in European history. According to local news sources, thieves stole fifty beehives as well as one thousand liters of honey. The thieves stole bees from two different beekeeping locations in the Swedish city. One of the beekeeper victims, Patrick Nilsson claimed that the loss made him feel as though his pets had just died. After Nilsson realized that he had been the victim of a theft, he called a nearby fellow beekeeper who also claimed to have been robbed of his beehives. It is not yet known how many bees were stolen from this second beekeeper. Sweden is not the only country to see high bee theft rates. For example, since 2011, hundreds of thousands of apiaries across England and Wales have been robbed. Experts blame the surge in thefts on increased competition between beekeepers.

Do you think that the alleged increase in competition among beekeepers is being driven by the declining bee population?