wet bee diary

Friday, August 03, 2001
My girlfriend is too cool - she just found this for me:

Those who are familiar with Arabic will easily be able to identify what this beehive spells - "Allah(swt)".

Uugh. Popbitch.com message board is turning into a discussion about animal cruelty, and someone just posted this:

"I once put 10 bees in a jar and watched them die. 4 years later aged 10 I dreamt that 10 bees put me in a jar and watched me die. My parents couldn't understand why I was so upset..."

Needless to say, I put them in their place.

Monday, July 30, 2001
I put my email address on this site for the first time yesterday, and straight away got a mail from a lady in Australia called Melissa BEE. She has this website which is all about Melissas and bees, and which now has edited highlights from this Blog.

it expands on the Melissa/bee connection:

"The name Melissa is derived from Greek mythology. Melissa was a nymph that cared for the infant Zeus while he was being hidden from his father, the king of the gods. Melissa plundered bee hives in order to feed honey to Zeus, who developed a permanent sweet tooth. When Melissa's role in protecting Zeus was discovered, she was turned into some lowly species of insect. Zeus later took pity on her and turned her into a honeybee, which is forever involved with making honey. (Parenthetical note: if Zeus had meant to do Melissa a favor, why didn't he turn her back into a nymph instead?)"

and has other stuff on it, like this:

Eek! I've just found out that bees have five eyes! It was the answer to a question on Eamonn Holmes's BBC1 quiz show last week, but I kind of discounted it because I distrust the jovial but dim-seeming Irish light entertainment host. I just looked it up on Google, however, and...

"How many eyes do you think a bee has? Two you say? No, actually, bees have five eyes in all. No, this isn't a trick question. On top of their head are three simple eyes, known as ocelli, arranged in a triangular pattern. These simple eyes with a single lens are best for informing the bee of changes in light intensity. These ocelli help them navigate around flowers and getting to and from the nest at dawn and dusk."


"Worker honey bees also have eyes that are divided up into two great ellipses on opposite sides of their head. Each compound eye is made up of about 6,900 individual units/facets packed tightly together as hexagons and known as ommatidia. Each ommatidium is able to capture light rays from a small angle of view. These rays are focused by several lenses onto light sensitive pigment. Once stimulated, these sensory cells pass along nervous impulses coding information on the quality of the light (its wavelength = visible color and plane of polarization) to the optic nerves which eventually reach the optic lobes of the honey bees' brain."

more on how bees see the world

Two bees (or maybe the same bee twice) came and buzzed round my face yesterday as we sat under Brighton's West Pier. Then my friend jumped naked from the pier into the sea. A little later a man came out of the sea in snorkelling gear with a knife and harpoon: he had a lobster dangling between his legs and 3 mullet fish on his belt. We bought a mullet for £2, and took it to my friends' house where my girlfriend filled it with lemon, rosemary, garlic and parsley. It was fantastic - I've never had such fresh fish before.

Sunday, July 29, 2001
My skinny flatmate saw an enormous bumblebee struggling to fly off the pavement yesterday. I wonder if it was overcome by the heat - it's been over 30 degrees for the last few days. Oh, and he (my flatmate, not the bumblebee) saw an episode of the Simpsons-resembling sitcom Malcom In The Middle which featured bees very heavily.

My naked girlfriend was just pestering me to get a book on fractals out from under my computer monitor (the monitor is propped up on a pile of big books to save me from getting a cricked neck whilst playing with my computer). This meant me having to hold my desk-lamp between my knees (getting a small electric shock into the process), while girlfriend lifted up the monitor and I reached around her to get the book. It was all worthwhile in the end though because the book had a picture of some mites swimming in the trachea of a bee. I then looked up "bee", "trachea" and "mites" on the Google search engine, and found this picture:

It's not quite as clear and pretty as the picture in the book, but never mind, eh? It's from a site dedicated to the Hamilton Menthol Board:

"Tracheal mites are too small to be seen by the naked eye. To detect them, you would need a microscope and laboratory facilities.

"Tracheal mites make for bad wintering, poor honey production, and decreased bee vigor. Winter mortality may be indicated by a fairly sudden collapse of colonies, especially in the snow immediately in front of the hives as the bees crawl out, loaded with fecal matter, with an abundance of honey left inside the hive. (1)

"Therefore, it is important to test and be aware of any tracheal mite infestation in your hives.

"Menthol has proven to be an effective treatment for tracheal mite control. The menthol needs to vaporize inside the hive to be effective. Various forms of treating with menthol have been developed. Crystals may be introduced into the hives, loose on the bottom board, placed on a towel over the brood nest, or put into a paper bag with holes punched in and hung on a frame. Temperatures need to be above 70 F (21 C) for the menthol to vaporize and be effective.

"Some beekeepers treat mites with vegetable oil. This reduces the ability of the mite to find young hosts and spread.

"Our method is to combine the two. Menthol dissolved in vegetable oil provides the best of both treatments."

This all seems very sensible. The picture was taken by C.Peng, by the way. More info