Beekeeper: Observing the Hive

music
ambience: bee hive

This is part of a series of programs on citizen scientists, people who practice science as a hobby or a passion – usually both. Today a visit with Vivian Clayton, a beekeeper in Walnut Creek, California. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“Well, you know, one of my favorite occupations, even before I get ready to open the hive, is to sit by the hive entrance for, oh, a good fifteen minutes. I actually can tell an awful lot about what’s going on inside the hive from watching it outside. For instance, if the hive did not have a queen, the bees would not be carrying pollen on their legs – they sort of slow down on collecting pollen. Pollen is actually used in the hive by the nursing bees both to feed the developing larvae, but also they use it and eat it themselves for the first few days of their lives while their own bodies are continuing to develop. And if they are bringing in pollen at all, what color it is, what might be in bloom, and it just also slows you down… you have to be very calm when you open up a hive, under any and all circumstances. Their eye movements, they can detect motion at one three-hundredths of a second, our eye can only detect motion at one fiftieth of a second, so if you’re moving jerkily, they pick it up more than a human can, actually, so you really have to be very calm and slow.”

Our thanks to Vivian Clayton.

We’ll hear more about beekeeping in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Beekeeper: Observing the Hive

You can learn a lot about the condition of a bee colony just by observing carefully.
Air Date:10/12/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: bee hive

This is part of a series of programs on citizen scientists, people who practice science as a hobby or a passion - usually both. Today a visit with Vivian Clayton, a beekeeper in Walnut Creek, California. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"Well, you know, one of my favorite occupations, even before I get ready to open the hive, is to sit by the hive entrance for, oh, a good fifteen minutes. I actually can tell an awful lot about what's going on inside the hive from watching it outside. For instance, if the hive did not have a queen, the bees would not be carrying pollen on their legs - they sort of slow down on collecting pollen. Pollen is actually used in the hive by the nursing bees both to feed the developing larvae, but also they use it and eat it themselves for the first few days of their lives while their own bodies are continuing to develop. And if they are bringing in pollen at all, what color it is, what might be in bloom, and it just also slows you down... you have to be very calm when you open up a hive, under any and all circumstances. Their eye movements, they can detect motion at one three-hundredths of a second, our eye can only detect motion at one fiftieth of a second, so if you're moving jerkily, they pick it up more than a human can, actually, so you really have to be very calm and slow."

Our thanks to Vivian Clayton.

We'll hear more about beekeeping in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music