[ExI] walking bees

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 2 09:05:03 UTC 2007

--- spike <spike66 at comcast.net> wrote:
> What is going on here?
> In regards to my first sentence, perhaps this is
> directly related to
> transhumanism in a sense, for if our bee colonies
> collapse, we need to find
> or develop alternate food sources quickly.

I find this topic perfectly appropriate with regards
to a transhumanist list. Colony collapse disorder is
most certainly an existential risk due to our high
reliance on the honey bee for pollination. Something I
noticed when I moved up here to Olympia, WA, is that
spookily there are no honeybees to be found. All the
bees buzzing around here are bumblebees and mason

Unfortunately, I don't know how quickly these
alternative pollinators can pick up the slack, since
for years we have been crowding them out with our
inbred domesticated bee strains.

CCD is quite a puzzle. There are about half a dozen
theories floating around but some are more feasible
than others. But the "experts" are stumped so its time
for us to step up.  Global warming, pesticides, GM
crop pollen, and radiation (cell phone or UV) seem
unlikely reasons to me. They don't jibe with some very
important clues:

1. Epidemiological pattern suggestive of a parasite or
pathogen as an etiological agent. After all global
warming and the rest of these proposed causes do not
spread from state to state.

2. The bees die AWAY from the hive. If it was
pesticides, global warming, etc. you would expect a
more even distribution with dead bees being found in
the hive as well as outside of it. But so far only the
*foragers* outside of the hive are dying.

3. Organic bees, feral bees, and closely related
species of bees are not dying. Again some large scale
environmental phenomenon should affect all the bees.
Not just the industrially farmed ones.

So my spidey or rather bee-sense tells me that the
culprit is the tracheal mites with possible secondary
infections caused by stress as a minor factor.

Mite infestations would spread in an epidemilogical
pattern as observed. Secondly, in-bred domestic
strains would be more susceptible to mite infestations
as well as secondary infections/infestations due to
insufficient natural diversity in host defenses. They
are also more susceptible due to their larger size.
Domestic honeybees are about 1.5X larger than their
organic and feral counterparts.


This translates into organic and feral bees having
smaller honeycomb cells that take shorter times to
cap, allowing fewer mites to get into them. It also as
the article above fails to mention, make it easier for
the bee to breathe due to better scaling of surface
area of the trachea to the volume/mass of the bee.

Thus my hypothesis is that the bees are dying of
lactic acid poisoning due to hypoxia. That is to say
they are suffocating due to clogged airways and more
body mass relative to their seemingly mite-resistant
wild counterparts.

This also makes sense in light of clue #2, that bees
are only dying while foraging outside of the hive. It
takes far more oxygen to fly around in search of food
than it does to walk around inside of the hive. It
would also explain why you see the bees "walking",
Spike. They fly away from the hive but the build up of
lactic acid due to oxygen debt makes it so they can't
fly back. So they become pedestrians.

Of course this is still just a hypthesis that needs to
be tested. Since there are no honeybees at all where I
now live to conduct an experiment and since you have a
penchant for collecting the walking bees in jars any
way, Spike, I need you help for this one. Here is the
experiment that needs to be performed:

You need to see if higher oxygen pressure will
resuscitate your walking bees, Spike. The easiest way
to do this from the comfort of your home is to
construct a jar with a screen or something similar
part way down to keep the bees from falling into the
liquid in the bottom of the jar and drowning. Make it
so that you can still fit an airtight lid on the jar.

You will need to generate the oxygen gas chemically.
The best way to do this is to:

1. Pour some chlorox bleach into the jar and put the
screen in.

2. Put a "walking bee" on the screen toward one side
of the jar.

3. Pour a roughly equal volume of hydrogen peroxide
through the screen on the opposite side from where the
bee is. The chemical reaction should immediately start
to fizz. The bubbles are pure oxygen.

4. Try to get the lid onto the jar before the fizzing

5. Observe the bee, take notes and photographs.

If the bees seem to get better in your homemade
hyperbaric oxygen chamber, then my hypothesis is right
and we get to publish our results. I think it only
fair that we share credit equally. Please make sure
there are no sparks or flames nearby when you mix the
bleach and hydrogen peroxide.

So are you interested? :-)

Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"When an old man dies, an entire library is destroyed." - Ugandan proverb

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