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Thread: What is the reasoning...

  1. #1 What is the reasoning... 
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    I live in the the UK , well, England to be precised, (near the bottom) anyway, I was having a discussion with my youngest lad about wildlife and insects and we noticed a few bumble bees flying around and I mentioned the size of them and said to my lad, look at them they look like Queen bees but we shouldn't see so many at one time in such close proximity, I remember when I was young, although bees were rarer than wasps, we very rarely seen a huge Queen bee, but the truth is, for so many years now, I've seen only large bees.

    Myself and my lad discussed that the bad summers or climate may have had an effect on the Bees cycle and he went through all the stuff he had been taught at school about what bees do but what is the reasoning behind their big size?


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Ummmm, so the first question is:

    Are you making the incorrect assumption that bumble bees are queen bees for other bees?

    Or are you thinking there is a shift in species from smaller hymenopterans to larger?


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    You're asking why different bees are different sizes? I would suggest the same rationale for any similar organisms being different sizes (tigers, elephants, other insects, etc); selection pressures.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    It is very unlikely that you saw a queen bee; as far as I know, they normally only fly when they swarm to find a new nest.

    Edit: apparently I am wrong: bumble bee queens do go and forage for nectar and pollen. Live and learn!

    There may be more (and possibly larger) bumble bees around this year because it was such a mild winter in the UK.
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    I thought we were talking about honey bee queen bees.I too thought they were only infrequently to be seen.

    There is a programme on BBC4 at the moment (22.30 on a Sunday I think and the last in the series is next week)

    Honey bees have returned in numbers in my area this year after they were destroyed with those 2 cold winters in a row.

    I wondered if the OP mistook a Bumble bee for a honey bee queen bee.
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    Is europe experiencing the die-off of "european honey bees" which we are seeing here in the US?
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    There is certainly a lot of talk about it and I think I may have heard that they are not quite sure of the reason(s).

    I also think I heard that bees are not the only pollinators although they are used a lot in a commercial way.

    Sorry I am not an expert although I do think it is an important subject.
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    Is europe experiencing the die-off of "european honey bees" which we are seeing here in the US?
    Very similar, though I don't know if it is as bad as needing to import bees from Australia every year as the Americans do.

    This article covers most of the issues. (But no reference to USA problems except by implication.)
    Neonicotinoid ban won't fix all bees' problems
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    Nice, Europe will be a significantly large control group for studying the effects of neonicotinoids.

    I doubt that there has ever been, is now, or could ever be any environmentally benign pesticide.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    Nice, Europe will be a significantly large control group for studying the effects of neonicotinoids.

    I doubt that there has ever been, is now, or could ever be any environmentally benign pesticide.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    Is europe experiencing the die-off of "european honey bees" which we are seeing here in the US?

    Yes the varroa mite is reducing bee populations on both continents.
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    I was just talking to a beekeeper and he said the disease that was damaging the populations was being caused by commercial beekeepers overstocking the hives.

    I don't know what the disease was but he seemed to be saying that they were being prevented from swarming when they wanted to and as a result they were living in too close proximity -which favours the spread of disease.

    I could have misunderstood -it was the first time I had heard about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    bumble bee queens do go and forage for nectar and pollen...
    Only for a very brief, temporary time, till the first gen of workers are ready to take over...

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    Just for clarity - I don't know if the ones I've been seeing are indeed queen bees but they are the same size as queen bees. What I am trying to ascertain is if the ones I've seen are regular bees which have evolved or have enlarged because of climate effect. My lad suggested ( we had a laugh) they may be staying in more and eating more. Kind of like couch potatos!
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    What I am trying to ascertain is if the ones I've seen are regular bees which have evolved or have enlarged because of climate effect.
    Climate change is more likely to attract a new (as in: "new to where you live") species than to cause massive evolutionary changes over such a short time.
    Last edited by RedPanda; May 6th, 2014 at 09:08 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    Just for clarity - I don't know if the ones I've been seeing are indeed queen bees but they are the same size as queen bees. What I am trying to ascertain is if the ones I've seen are regular bees which have evolved or have enlarged because of climate effect. My lad suggested ( we had a laugh) they may be staying in more and eating more. Kind of like couch potatos!
    Do they look like big bees or like bumble bees?
    I wouldn't be able to say what the size of a queen bee is but I would definitely know if it was a bumble bee or another kind of bee (eg honey bee).

    Hover flies look just like bees at a glance -but I don't think they sting. They hover and are supposedly very beneficial to gardeners.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    Just for clarity - I don't know if the ones I've been seeing are indeed queen bees but they are the same size as queen bees. What I am trying to ascertain is if the ones I've seen are regular bees which have evolved or have enlarged because of climate effect. My lad suggested ( we had a laugh) they may be staying in more and eating more. Kind of like couch potatos!
    Why do you rule out simply not having noticed the bumble bees before hand, and there simply being a large number this years due to the unusually warm winter not having reduced the population nearly as much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    Just for clarity - I don't know if the ones I've been seeing are indeed queen bees but they are the same size as queen bees. What I am trying to ascertain is if the ones I've seen are regular bees which have evolved or have enlarged because of climate effect. My lad suggested ( we had a laugh) they may be staying in more and eating more. Kind of like couch potatos!
    Why do you rule out simply not having noticed the bumble bees before hand, and there simply being a large number this years due to the unusually warm winter not having reduced the population nearly as much.
    I've not really seen any for a few years. Seen the odd confused one out early but I havent seen a regular size bee for a few years. I seen the first ladybird in decades. Butterflies (white ones) seem to be coming back but the red admirals and others are very scarce.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    Just for clarity - I don't know if the ones I've been seeing are indeed queen bees but they are the same size as queen bees. What I am trying to ascertain is if the ones I've seen are regular bees which have evolved or have enlarged because of climate effect. My lad suggested ( we had a laugh) they may be staying in more and eating more. Kind of like couch potatos!
    Why do you rule out simply not having noticed the bumble bees before hand, and there simply being a large number this years due to the unusually warm winter not having reduced the population nearly as much.
    I've not really seen any for a few years. Seen the odd confused one out early but I havent seen a regular size bee for a few years. I seen the first ladybird in decades. Butterflies (white ones) seem to be coming back but the red admirals and others are very scarce.
    (Im still a little confused as to the exact species you are referring to)

    What do you define as regular size for a "bee", as that term is a very broad one that includes all genera and species in the family Apoidea. Thus you may be talking about mason bee, carder bee, honey bees, bumble bees, sweet bees, etc.... and all have a different normal size range in their species.

    If you are specifically talking bumble bees, have you looked at the listing for native Palearctic Bombus sp which are found in the UK?
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  21. #20  
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    This thread needs some photos or better some measurements. It occures to me to wonder if carpenter bees are found in your area, they look like bumbles but are a bit larger.
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  22. #21  
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    A bit more about what is killing the bees here:

    Pesticides and colder winters triggered collapse of honeybee colonies : SCIENCE : Tech Times

    and here:



    http://www.bulletinofinsectology.org...-125-130lu.pdf

    Apparently "Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health report they've found two widely utilized insecticides, of a class known as neonicotinoids, apparently cause significant harm to the colonies during the winter, and the colder the winter the greater the harm"

    I haven't looked through the documentation in detail.I can't say how much harm they found the insecticides were doing although I seem to understand that the harm only really became apparent with (actually after) the severe weather.


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