One of my favourite truths as an ex-teacher is that intelligence is more about the questions you ask than the answers you give. I have had several experiences lately that have led to lots of questions – mainly towards the end of this, so if you have any answers or observations please share them.
That is why I highlighted the wonderful bee book recently in a post headed more on bee sight – it contains magnified pictures of the honey bee. When you show it to those of any age from about 5 – 95 years of age the questions start pouring in a torrent from their mouths – and they learn at a similarly fast pace. If you fed the same information in a lesson the amount of retained learning would probably be a fraction. Pictures are also multilingual – or at least they only need a comparatively small vocabulary.
I also wrote recently about my trip to the FloriadeBee Pavilion – or should I say bijenpaviljoen as I am starting to be curious about the Dutch language and rather like some of their word structures. One of the pages supportingthe project shows the 5 most recent tagged bees to enter or leave.
A few stats can be helpful but I became curious and set up a web query from Excel trying to capture a more extensive record of bee movements. Unfortunately, sometimes this spreadsheet needs to have the new data added every 5 minutes so there are lots of gaps in my sheet because I ought to be doing so many other things. At the moment I am keeping all the raw data but I may then analyse the data discarding the trips for which I have missed either the start or end of the journey. Luckily the journeys are numbered so at any stage I can reorder chronologically. However, I can also put data in alphabetical order which will be much easier than trying to visually spot the next activity of any one bee.
So – what have I noticed and what questions arise in my mind?
In my early data I noticed that the bees Wilke and Maryon had this pattern of activity:
It almost looked as though the two bees were twinned or they had the same shift pattern.
Are all ‘trips’ of a similar duration?
Is it just that these two bees were collecting from the same source so journey time was similar?
Were they actually travelling together?
What about their times inside the hive – did that represent the time they needed to pass on their load or did they have other duties – or a sleep or a meal?
I think I read that bees either collect pollen or nectar not both at the same time. The bijenpaviljoen ‘Be a Bee’ experience seems to confirm this. Does a pollen collecting trip differ in duration from a nectar collection trip? Or does it depend more on the journey to the source than the purpose of the trip?
And – is there an easier way to collect all the bee data over, say a day or a week?
I am happy to share my spreadsheet with others. It would make a nice spreadsheet exercise for a group who were interested in bee behaviour – in a school setting or for adults. It could almost form an A level ICT project (I used to be an examiner for A level ICT and some of the projects seemed quite pointless and manufactured compared with this)