Genomic study explores evolution of gentle ‘killer bees’ in Puerto Rico

How cool is it when science and nature complement each other.

Love it when science happens.  Honey bee genetics, biology, physiology.  Especially when science shows us that natural adaptation happens.

Take a look at this journal article about the “Gentle” africanized bees that have been selected for in a specific and limited geographic area.

Source: Genomic study explores evolution of gentle ‘killer bees’ in Puerto Rico

Notorious Beekeepers: Warwick Kerr

You may not know Warwick Kerr by name, but he is the much maligned researcher whose work unfortunately brought us the media scare-fest, the “Killer” Honey bee.

First of all, Warwick Kerr is a Brazilian Entomologist and Geneticist whose work in studying honey bee genetics, particularly genetic sex selection goes back to the early 1950’s.

In fact, in the mid 1950’s he was contracted to try to help Brazilian farmer’s improve pollination seeing as western honey bees weren’t showing the same degree of successful adaptation to the tropical/sub-tropical environment in South America.  What did they opt to do?   Why they brought in a known successful sub-tropical adapted honey bee from Africa to inter-breed with the historically well managed western European honey bees.

Things were actually going well in the research until a day in 1957 when some of the African honey bee Queens being worked with escaped the confinement area and began to occupy and breed with European bees out in the un-managed open areas of Brazil.

African bees, due to their nature and adaptation to a tropical environment, breed rapidly and aggressively to take over other established colonies in a region.  This led to a new mix breed of honey bee we now know as the Africanized Honey bee.

I refer to Dr. Kerr as “notorious” because he has been treated rather poorly in the media and through history being in charge of the experiment gone awry.  The man has since continued to contribute a great amount of research and study to the study of bees and is somewhat a victim of the politicization of science.  He has published well over 600 various research articles on various related topics over the years since then.

Warwick Kerr, due to his bee genetics research and his historic blunder, if you will, of the introduction of the Africanized Honey Bee, is undoubtedly one of the most significant beekeepers of the 20th century.

Bee Smart Crossword #7-Notable Beekeeper Researchers

Here we again.  We have a short list of some notable people involved over the years in honey bee research.

You can work the puzzle online here or you can print out the PDF below which also includes a wordlist for those unfamiliar with apicultural terms.

Bee Smart Crossword #7_ Notable Beekeeping Researchers

As always, you can get the answer sheet for the puzzle over at the Bee Smart Patreon page.  We would love to have your support to keep our efforts moving forward.

Notable Apiarist, Roger Morse

When  first got serious about apiculture, Roger Morse became one of my first beekeeping “Notables”.  Mr Morse’s work has been truly influential in modern beekeeping.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

He was one of the first researchers to delve in-depth into the Varroa mites. Not only that, he had a good look at Small Hive Beetles as well.  Closely connected to Cornell University,  he has authored numerous research articles on any number of topics relating to beekeeping and was a contributor to that time of apicultural information, “ABC’s and XYZ’s of Beekeeping”, and the monthly beekeeping magazine, “Bee Culture”, among others.

He was influential to several of those we currently count on for new and important research.  People like Tom Seeley, author of “Honeybee Democracy”  for example.

The writing and presentation style of Roger Morse was persuasive to say the least.  At least to me.  I find his writing in particular to be familiar, friendly even.

One of his books in particular number among my favorites, “The New Complete Guide to Beekeeping”.

Cornell University press euligized Roger Morse and provided us with a far too brief but well done last look at his work.

Notable and Notorious Beekeepers

The topic for the Bee Smart beekeeping project website this week is learning a bit more about the notable and notorious beekeepers that have moved the world of beekeeping over the years.

Some have given us great innovations in methods and equipment.  Others have increased our understanding immensely.  Still others have given us experience in what not to do rather than do what they actually did.

Let’s chat about some if the great minds and personalities that have helped modern apiculture become what it is today, shall we?

Honey Lovers Club @ Mangelsen’s

Do you love Honey?  Have you thought of yourself as a honey connoisseur or would like to be?  Terrific !

Come join us at the new Honey Lovers Club @ Mangelsen’s in Omaha, NE on Saturday afternoon, November 25th from 1 to 2 pm.

We will sample various honey, talk about how to identify honey and beegin the journey to appreciate honey in all it’s culinary potential together.

Hosted by Tony “Big Bear” Sandoval of BBE-Tech Apiary Services and the Bee Smart beekeeping project.

Please register at the Mangelsen’s website to beegin this journey of honey appreciation with us.

 

The Bee Smart Topic for the week of 11-06-2017

Hey there folks.  We are still trying to maintain a certain focus on the things we post on here at the Bee Smart beekeeping project on a weekly basis.

This week, we’re going to pay a bit more attention to bees and pesticides.  Both the Crossword and Wordsearch puzzles are based on this topic and Big Bear will be doing a video doing a mini “class” on the subject as well.

Hop on over to the website forums and share your ideas and experiences having to do with bees and pesticides in your little piece of the world.  We’d love to see you there.

What’s in a Genus name?

Yes, it’s still honey bee taxonomy week here at the Bee Smart beekeeping project.  Just a cool FYI  for those following along.

Did you know that in the taxonomy of the honey bee the name “Apis” is not the complete name?  That’s right, there’s more to it.

Technically speaking, though we only ever really refer to honey bees as Apis mellifera (Genus Apis, Species mellifera), the full Genus is “Apis Linnaeus”.  Carl Linnaeus is the distinguished gentleman in the picture accompanying this post.

There’s a very cool PDF on updated taxonomy of the honey bee called “The Taxonomy of Recent and Fossil Honey Bees” by  Michael S. Engel, on our Download page that you can download and read, courtesy of KU ScholarWorks

Currently used scientific name was given to honey bee by Linnaeus (also known as: Carl von Linné) in 1758

(Tofilski A. (2012) Honey bee. Available from http://www.honeybee.drawwing.org.)

Bee Smart Crossword #5: Honey Bee Taxonomy

So, what is taxonomy?  According to the dictionary;

tax·on·o·my
takˈsänəmē/
noun

BIOLOGY
  1. the branch of science concerned with classification, especially of organisms; systematics.
    • the classification of something, especially organisms.
      “the taxonomy of these fossils”

Basically, taxonomy is the scientific way of organizing and classifying living things.  In the case of our Interests, that would be bees, especially honey bees as far as this puzzle is concerned.

If you prefer working the puzzle on paper, you can print the puzzle out as a PDF with a word list to help you learn new terminology.

Crossword-Bee Smart Puzzle #5_ Bee Taxonomy