2011 has been quite a year as far as bees and beekeeping is concerned with more beekeepers joining the ranks; a move towards more and more urban beekeeping; increased interest in top bar hives; more and more of the public taking an interest in bees and even a parliamentary debate about bee problems led by Martin Caton MP. In the science field 2011 has really been outstanding. The number of new findings and the sheer volume of research being carried out on bees and pollination never fails to amaze me and at the same time gives me hope that our craft can continue to play a vital part in both planetary health and the world economy. Bees and beekeeping have even reached top 10 status in a number of ways:
Top 10 Reads for science 2011
Bees have been in the news and it probably won’t surprise you that reading about bees has now entered the top 10 or interesting reads. Hardly a week goes by without new evidence of intelligence in animals: such as empathetic rats, counting pigeons, tool usin g fish and cooperating elephants and on and on and just recently we hear about faster than light neutrinos which is phenomenal! Yet one of the top 10 scientific studies of 2011 was the discovery that bees could be pessimistic – emotional bees!! Just think of that. This was reported on in the June 2011 edition of APiSUK and was a really interesting piece of research. Specifically, they’re capable of a glass-half-empty pessimistic worldview, which in turn challenges a human worldview: What does it mean when insects meet a benchmark that only “higher” animals are supposed to attain? Take a look at it again and you’ll realize why it is included in the top 10 pieces of research for 2011.
Top 10 for general reads
And according to the Daily Telegraph one of then top 10 reads of the year was an article about bees entitled ‘Einstein was right – honey bee collapse threatens global food security’, the article went on to say that:
‘The bee crisis has been treated as a niche concern until now, but as the UN’s index of food prices hits an all time-high, it is becoming urgent to know whether the plight of the honey bee risks further exhausting our food security……’ and so on. Daily Telegraph. Wednesday 28 December 2011.
All of this is encouraging for two reasons: Firstly it means that the general public are becoming more and more interested in bees and pollination and are beginning to understand these subjects better and secondly it is bringing more and more people into beekeeping and ecology generally. With the pressures facing us, there can never be too many interested people.
This edition of APiSUk carries on with the tradition of writing about the science of bees and looks at a number of interesting pieces of research being carried out in the UK and abroad. We even bring you news of self running mini robots that can act as a swarm! Who needs bees!! Our recipe section has two really nice recipes and we introduce our fact for the month – which as it is the end of the year has become our fact for the year and also our featured video clip of the month which again is the clip of the year and is one of the most fascinating video pieces that I have ever seen. And then we ask the question, ‘are diesel fumes contributing to CCD? And in one major finding we see just how decisions are made in swarms looking for a home. Read on.
As it is now the end of the year and as Apis will come out once a month in 2012 (which is something quite revolutionary), do let me know if you want to contribute or let me know if you want to see any other features. Other than that, have a great New Year party and a very happy and prosperous 2012.
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