Friday, May 27, 2011

The Giant Honey Bee

Hey guys!

So I've got Ray over here and we're supposed to be working but seeing as to how I've got this splitting headache and things I carelessly left in my University I decided to take a short break (and I swear this post won't take more than five minutes of my time) to blog about some very interesting sights I've come across within the past few days. First of all, take a look at this;

What is that??? Take a closer look! 
Yes, my friends that is exactly what it looks like. That is a swarm of giant honey bees, Apis Dorsata. The giant honey bee is unique, unlike other forms of bees which nest in tree-hollows or holes in the ground as they build their hives high up in the canopy of tall trees, exposed to all the dangers of predators and the elements. In fact if if you were to look closely at the picture, the entire cluster of bees, body to body, make up the entirety of the hive itself! Some thousands of insects, all clinging to each other to create a protective wall around the precious honeycombs containing the sweet, liquid gold and their matriarch, the Queen. But perhaps one might ponder as to the reason these bees take such liberties with their nesting. Surely an enclosed cavity would provide better protection for the bees against the elements. And the reason for this is simple, that Apis Dorsata is a highly aggressive species of bees, and provoking the nest... could be catastrophic. Stinging, however is a very costly form of defense for the hive as it results in a decline in the number of bees (a bee cannot survive without its sting) and so, to deter off predators, these bees have a very interesting method of defending themselves known as "defense waving". In defense waving, the bees thrust their abdomens upwards at a ninetly degree angle, followed by a stroking of their wings, in a systematic manner. The resulting effect is an outward ripple originating from a central point in the hive, spreading outwards in mesmerizing patterns not unlike an audience wave at a sport's stadium, take a look.

This is pretty neat, right? And something that can intimidate Sir David Attenborough into wearing a bee-suit is definitely a creature we need to respect. Unfortunately for the colony I spotted, the nesting site they chose was in the middle of the University Carpark causing them, therefore, to pose somewhat of a health-hazard and a threat considering the number of disrespectful (towards nature) students we have around which might inadvertantly provoke the bees with a stone toss or something of the like causing a small-scale catastrophe... the authorities had to be alerted, therefore and the bees were eventually... dealt with. It's a pity though, since they were probably only migrating from one point to another... being the insect-lover though I couldn't quite help myself. Specimens needed to be collected, and after some careful reconnaissance during an early morning shower...

Voilla!!! Be in a Bottle.
It's really a pity I suppose, because the open nest was truly a sight to behold... and even Ray couldn't hold back his curiosity and awe to keep from stepping up close and under the nest though I cautioned him, and other bystanders to be extremely careful and quiet and 'small' when they do so. For me and Ray though, I had my car parked on close hand so should the situation get nasty, a quick getaway was always possible... to everyone else... sorry but you should have thought about it before coming up close... anyway, nobody got hurt from the incident (not even me, after my bee-napping) and I regret to inform that the hive has since been unjustly "dealt with". I suppose this is one of those situations which really portray those sad and unfortunate moments when nature inexplicably clashes with the man-made world... unfortunate because bees are extremely helpful... and knowing some students....there was really no choice but to be rid of them (although personally I'd disagree, I suppose keeping students from getting stung is higher up the administrative office's agenda than the benefits of bees)


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