Beekeeper: Society of Bees

music
ambience: beehive

It’s an ancient society with a rigid hierarchy – a working class, and even undertakers. Most of the year, they’re quite active – as busy as, well… bees. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“Well, bees live in a very highly cooperative and organized society.”

As part of a series on citizen scientists, we’re visiting with Vivian Clayton, a beekeeper in Walnut Creek, California.

“The young workers, which are from one to twelve days old, clean the cells, nurse the brood, and tend the queen. And then the middle-aged workers, who are anywhere from twelve to twenty-eight days, build the comb, store the nectar and pollen brought in by the foragers, and they also ventilate the nest. However, older workers who are twenty-eight days old or older are the foragers. They’re also the undertakers of the hive. You know, approximately 100 bees die a day, and the foragers clean out those dead corpses and you will never see a dead bee in the hive in the morning. The first thing that you notice are these foragers taking these dead bees out on the landing board and sort of, kicking them off. When one worker doesn’t show up for its scheduled job, another worker from lower down in the hierarchy will actually replace her right away. And, apparently, based on scientific research, workers that are higher up in the hierarchy can actually go back down to earlier activities, such as cleaning out cells. So, it’s just a very highly inter-cooperative society, that is quite enviable to observe.”

Our thanks to Vivian Clayton.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Beekeeper: Society of Bees

Their is a hierarchical society in a bee colony- find out who's on top and who's not.
Air Date:10/18/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: beehive

It's an ancient society with a rigid hierarchy - a working class, and even undertakers. Most of the year, they're quite active - as busy as, well... bees. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"Well, bees live in a very highly cooperative and organized society."

As part of a series on citizen scientists, we're visiting with Vivian Clayton, a beekeeper in Walnut Creek, California.

"The young workers, which are from one to twelve days old, clean the cells, nurse the brood, and tend the queen. And then the middle-aged workers, who are anywhere from twelve to twenty-eight days, build the comb, store the nectar and pollen brought in by the foragers, and they also ventilate the nest. However, older workers who are twenty-eight days old or older are the foragers. They're also the undertakers of the hive. You know, approximately 100 bees die a day, and the foragers clean out those dead corpses and you will never see a dead bee in the hive in the morning. The first thing that you notice are these foragers taking these dead bees out on the landing board and sort of, kicking them off. When one worker doesn't show up for its scheduled job, another worker from lower down in the hierarchy will actually replace her right away. And, apparently, based on scientific research, workers that are higher up in the hierarchy can actually go back down to earlier activities, such as cleaning out cells. So, it's just a very highly inter-cooperative society, that is quite enviable to observe."

Our thanks to Vivian Clayton.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music