Why Do Bees Buzz? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bees

Why Do Bees Buzz? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bees

Why Do Bees Buzz? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bees

Why Do Bees Buzz? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bees

Synopsis

Twenty-five thousand species of bees certainly create a loud buzz. Yet silence descended a few years ago when domesticated bee populations plummeted. Bees, in particular honey bees, are critical links in the vibrant chain that brings fruits, vegetables, and nuts to markets and dinner tables across the country. Farmers and scientists on the agricultural frontlines quickly realized the impact of this loss, but many others did not see this devastation.

Why Do Bees Buzz? reports on the mysterious "colony collapse disorder" that has affected honey bee populations, as well as other captivating topics, such as their complex, highly social lives, and how other species of bees are unique and different from honey bees. Organized in chapters that cover everything from these provocative pollinators' basic biology to the aggressive nature of killer bees, this insightful question and answer guide provides a honeycomb of compelling facts.

With clarity and depth, bee biologist Elizabeth Capaldi Evans and coauthor Carol A. Butler examine the lives of honey bees, as well as other species such as orchid bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees. Accessible to readers on every level, and including the latest research and theory for the more sophisticated reader, the authors reveal more than one hundred critical answers to questions about the lives of bees.

Concepts about speciation, evolutionary adaptation and pollination, as well as historical details about topics such as Mayan beekeeping and the appearance of bees in rock art, are arranged in easy-to-follow sidebars that highlight the text. Color and black and white photographs and drawings enhance the beauty and usefulness of Why Do Bees Buzz?

Excerpt

Question 1: What are bees?

Answer: Bees are invertebrate animals that grow through four different life stages—egg, larva, pupa, and adult—similar to the seemingly friendlier insects, the butterflies. However, unlike butterflies, which abandon their eggs once they are laid, bees provide their young a safe place to hatch and grow. All juvenile bees develop within the protected confines of an enclosed nest that is built by a female bee or by other females in the family. in some social species, the bee babies, or larvae, are fed on demand by their sisters. in other bee species, the larvae are enclosed within a small chamber after food has been deposited inside it. While often confused with wasps, their more aggressive, meat-eating cousins, bees almost always collect and feed on nectar and pollen from plants. These food resources may be consumed directly, stored within the nest, or made into provisions for later generations.

Bees and wasps do share a common ancestry, as evidenced by their superficially similar bodies; insects in each group have a “wasp waist”—the narrow area between the thorax (middle body-part) and the abdomen (end body-part). Both types of insects have many hairs on their bodies, but the hairs on bees are fluffy or branched; the hairs on wasps are typically straight and somewhat shiny. Both also have two sets of wings that fold back on top of one another when not in use and hook together during flight, and many species have similar coloration on their bodies . . .

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