bees

Karma karma karma karma chameleon, you come and go, you come and go

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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honey bees pollinate 80% of our flowering crops, and are thus essential for the production of 1/3 of our food. […] But for more than 2 million Americans, bees are a dangerous threat. Somewhere between 1% and 7% of human beings are allergic to insect venoms, with their symptoms ranging from mild overreactions to full-blown anaphylactic shock. For those with bee allergies, even the slightest sting can lead to a fight for life. Even more troubling is that, in half of all fatal sting allergy cases, victims had no previous major reactions to venom. Nearly 100 Americans die every year from bee stings. […]

Allergies are defined as ‘hypersensitive immune responses’—or, in colloquial terms, odd moments when our immune systems flip out. Anaphylaxis is the whole-body manifestation of an allergy, which can range from something as minor as hives to sharp drops in blood pressure and even cardiac arrest. You don’t have an allergic reaction the first time you come in contact with an allergen; instead, like with viruses or other potential invaders, your body takes an immunological picture so it can remember the allergen later. This is what is known as the adaptive immune response, and it’s usually a good thing—when you get the chicken pox, for example, your adaptive immune system remembers what the disease looks like, and can find and kill it should you ever be re-exposed. But when it comes to allergies, the adaptive immune system goes too far. The next time it detects allergens, it sends out hordes of IgE antibodies to destroy them. These IgE antibodies wreak havoc in our bodies—through cascading immunological pathways, IgE antibodies cause the release of histamine and other inflammatory compounds and can lead to anaphylaxis.

{ Discover | Continue reading }

The instantaneous deaths of many powerful enemies, graziers, members of parliament, members of standing committees, are reported

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Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while leaving surrounding cells unharmed.

The finding is an important step toward developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

{ Washington University in St. Louis | Continue reading }

photo { Dan Winters, Dead Bees, Oakdale, California, March 11-15, 2006 }

Love, whose month is ever May

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Bees at a cluster of apiaries in northeastern France have been producing honey in mysterious shades of blue and green, alarming their keepers who now believe residue from containers of M&M’s candy processed at a nearby biogas plant is the cause.

{ Reuters | Continue reading }

Now however, in the cool air, when even all the tumult of your hearts have become still

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Thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a trace, the bodies of the victims are never found. It’s what’s happening to fully a third of commercial beehives, over a million colonies every year. Seemingly healthy communities fly off never to return. The queen bee and mother of the hive is abandoned to starve and die.

Thousands of scientific sleuths have been on this case for the last 15 years trying to determine why our honey bees are disappearing in such alarming numbers. “This is the biggest general threat to our food supply,” according to Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bee and pollination program.

Until recently, the evidence was inconclusive on the cause of the mysterious “colony collapse disorder” (CCD) that threatens the future of beekeeping worldwide. But three new studies point an accusing finger at a culprit that many have suspected all along, a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. (…)

Their vanishing is nature’s way of telling us that conditions have deteriorated in the world around us. Bees won’t survive for long if we don’t change our commercial breeding practices and remove deadly toxins from their environment. (…)

Germany and France have already banned pesticides that have been implicated in the deaths of bees.

{ Reuters | Continue reading }

collage { Matthew Cusick }

Ever of thee, Anne Lynch, he’s deeply draiming!

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Scientists at the University of Sheffield believe decision making mechanisms in the human brain could mirror how swarms of bees choose new nest sites.

Striking similarities have been found in decision making systems between humans and insects in the past but now researchers believe that bees could teach us about how our brains work.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

I see your lips, the summer kisses, the sun-burned hands I used to hold

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When scientists delve into studies of the co-evolution of plants and their pollinators, they have something of a chicken/egg problem—which evolved first, the plant or its pollinator? Orchids and orchid bees are a classic example of this relationship. The flowers depend on the bees to pollinate them so they can reproduce and, in return, the bees get fragrance compounds they use during courtship displays (rather like cologne to attract the lady bees). And researchers had thought that they co-evolved, each species changing a bit, back and forth, over time.

But a new study in Science has found that the relationship isn’t as equal as had been thought. The biologists reconstructed the complex evolutionary history of the plants and their pollinators, figuring out which bees pollinated which orchid species and analyzing the compounds collected by the bees. It seems that the orchids need the bees more than the bees need the flowers—the compounds produced by the orchids are only about 10 percent of the compounds collected by the bees. The bees collect far more of their “cologne” from other sources, such as tree resin, fungi and leaves.

{ Smithsonian Magazine | Continue reading }

sculpture { Edgar Orlaineta }

When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash

{ Possible Cause of Bee Die-Off Is Found | Photo }

Though I’m certain that this heart of mine hasn’t a ghost of a chance in this crazy romance

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{ Honeybees exposed to cellphone radiation appear to lose the ability to return to their hives and queen bees produce a lower number of eggs. Bees pollinate some 80 per cent of commercial crops —apples, melons, sunflower, mustard, cucumbers and radish, she said. “A massive loss of bees could cause loss of production of such crops,” Kumar added. | Telegraph India | Continue reading | Images: Bee Swarm Takes Over Wall Street | Watch the video | Thanks Douglas! }