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Secret life of bees now a little less secret

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posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 01:36 PM
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Secret life of bees now a little less secret


www.physorg.com

Many plants produce toxic chemicals to protect themselves against plant-eating animals, and many flowering plants have evolved flower structures that prevent pollinators such as bees from taking too much pollen. Now ecologists have produced experimental evidence that flowering plants might also use chemical defences to protect their pollen from some bees. The results are published next week in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology.
(visit the link for the full news article)


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posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 01:36 PM
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I had to share this. The folks at PHYSORG.com printed an article based upon bee research, which seemed to me, worded in such a way as to raise my suspicion about what was trying to be said.

The article, "Secret life of bees now a little less secret" offers what appears to be "news" regarding what a group of researchers have reported regarding the nature of the relationship between bees and pollen.


Many plants produce toxic chemicals to protect themselves against plant-eating animals, and many flowering plants have evolved flower structures that prevent pollinators such as bees from taking too much pollen. Now ecologists have produced experimental evidence that flowering plants might also use chemical defences to protect their pollen from some bees. The results are published next week in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology.
www.physorg.com...

Further on, the researchers, which the authors at PHYSORG seem compelled to call "ecologists," say some strange things. I should explain that I put the work ecologists in quotes because the blanket statement seems contradictory to the actual intentions expressed by the vairious institutes and publications from which the material was derived (not implying that there was a reason, but it should be noted nevertheless). I will return to this later...

Here's the gist of the information: The researches conducted an experiment, feeding specific plant-pollen to different species of bees. They found that some could not develop properly on such an exclusive diet. For example:


... [Researchers] ... collected pollen from four plant species – buttercup, viper's bugloss, wild mustard and tansy – using an ingenious method. Instead of themselves collecting pollen from plants, the researchers let bees do the leg work, harvesting pollen from the nests of specialist bees which only feed on one type of plant.


Now, I must point out, these bees have presumably evolved or adapted to such exclusive diets... the experimenters then proceeded with their experiment.


According to Claudio Sedivy: "While the larvae of Osmia cornuta were able to develop on viper's bugloss pollen, more than 90% died within days on buttercup pollen. Amazingly, the situation was exactly the opposite with the larvae of Osmia bicornis. And both bee species performed well on wild mustard pollen, while neither managed to develop on tansy pollen."


Here is the 'news' as portrayed to the community of those interested:


"As far as we know, this is the first clear experimental evidence that bees need physiological adaptations to cope with the unfavourable chemical properties of certain pollen," he says."


Now if I might ask you.... re-read the above conclusion.....

"Bees" need physiological adaptations to cope with the unfavourable chemical properties of certain pollen.

Which, to this layman, evokes a response which sort of goes like this:

Maybe, you could say the same thing about humans trying to survive on straw and wood pulp.

We haven't the physiological adaptation (like the correcdt gut bacteria) to extract any energy from these would-be foods. The bees you've studied didn't "choose" or "attempt" to survive on the pollen in question, they were restricted to it artifically. You would have gotten similar results in any case, with any animal or insect who's normal diet is changed exclusively to something they do not consume.

However, this 'experimental observation' lays the groundwork for a claim that disturbs me...


Plants would have good reason to protect their pollen against bees. Bees need enormous amounts of pollen to feed their young, pollen that could otherwise be used by the plants for pollination. The pollen of up to several hundred flowers is needed to rear one single larva, and bees are very efficient gatherers of pollen, often taking 70-90% of a flower's pollen in one visit. Because they store this pollen in special hairbrushes or in their gut, this means the pollen is not used to pollinate the flower.


Notice that!? Suddenly the eons-old success of our ecosystem in cross-polination by bees and other insects is a "threat" to the plant? Considering we are talking about billions upon billions of pollen spores and only ONE is necessary to successfully reproduce, what exactly are they intimating here..... that plants are trying to 'kill' bees?

That bees are detrimental to plant survival? Where could such faux-logic lead?

After this... they soften their stance, admitting that there might be a chemical component involved, but not central to the survival strategy of the plants.

I feared, for a moment reading this piece, that there might be an ulterior motive to the point of the research and it's assertions of 'scientific' fact... like perhaps, we need to genetically modify bees, or that nature itself may be removing bees from the cycle of polination.... which I am inclined to disbelieve.

One of the most important factors in validating ANY research nowadays, is knowing who's paying for it, and who's profiting from it. Clearly this would be a 'GMO' friendly research piece wouldn't it? So I dug a little into facts which are only indirectly related to the article.

First... the publication cited was "Functional Ecology"

onlinelibrary.wiley.com...;jsessionid=CD292C95DCE0FE7AE71DA2D358B84F71.d01t03

This publication is among others created and disseminated by the British Ecological Society www.britishecologicalsociety.org...

The BES, structured as a limited corporation and charitable organization, is comprised of committees and an executive body. The organization claims goals and srategies to "develop" ecological science, and scientists. To promote the use of the sicence, to build "collaborative partnerships" (although they fail to mention with whom); also, explicitly, to "Ensure financial sustainability"... to which I must ask "of what?" science? ecology? The club? The executive body "regularly reviews the committees and decision making structures of the Society to ensure they are fit for purpose" (again, what purpose is unspecified.)

The 'plan' is rife with the usual feel-good pablum of corporate authors, but fails to assuage me that they are not averse to working with institutional agendas different than the promotion of scientific fact, and the earnest pursuit of knowledge. But I can't fault them for that; I am, after all, clearly a cynic.

However, and more to he point, this research wasn't done by the BES, only published by it. The research was done by an "Institute"; namely, the "Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IAS)" in Switzerland (Das Institut für Agrarwissenschaften (IAS) ist die Plattform für Forschung und Lehre in den Agrarwissenschaften der ETH Zürich.)
www.ias.ethz.ch...

The proper title of the organization is actually (I think) "ETH Zurich, Institute of Plant, Animal and Agroecosystem Sciences, Applied Entomology"

Now this institute; which is as most institutes, a corporate and privately-funded organization, claims that they insist on a multidisciplinary approach to research.

Furthermore, and somewhat alarmingly, they state within their own mission statement, something which I think translates to this....

[rough translation]
The improvement of agriculture cannot benefit from 'purely' scientific discipline, [agriculture] is too complex and interconected with natural resource conservation which require an interdisciplinary approach.

The solution to the problems require technical and highly trained scientists to consider the different production systems and relationships of [natutral] diversity....
[/end rough translation attempt]

They seem to say that they need to bring agro insustrial technological concerns into the mix of agro-research. They specifically state, as a goal, that they wish to engender 'sustainable' agriculture in light of the ecosystem and its changes.

Calling these researches "Ecologists" as opposed to "Entomologists" and "Botanists" is like calling a "Meteorologist" an "Atmospheric Climate Scientist".

So why all the effort to look into this?

Because we NOW (finally) KNOW that the "Agro-Industry" along with their chemical partners, screwed around with the ecosystem to make pesticide producing plants. We KNOW the governments around the world acquiesced and let them propagate this stuff.... and the Bees are paying the price (for now... more to come later, I'm sure"

Suddenly, there's a "new" approach to considering the Bees and their plight... with verbiage like:

"Bees" need physiological adaptations to cope with the unfavourable chemical properties of certain pollen.

Which sounds to me like the beginning of an idea... a chemical idea.... an idea I would rather not have Big Agro, Big Chemical, or Big Pharma anywhere near.

Thanks for reading.

www.physorg.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 02:04 PM
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I'm sure one would have to read the original study to make more sense of it, but this summary is somewhat confusing to me.



They then fed the pollen from each of the four plants to different broods of the larvae of two closely-related generalist species of mason bee (Osmia bicornis and Osmia cornuta) to see how well the larvae developed...

They found that despite the fact that the two generalist mason bees have a wide diet of different pollens, they showed striking differences in their ability to develop on pollen from the same plant species.


The obvious conclusion, as you have pointed out, is that the so-called "generalist bee" populations were from different environments and did not necessarily include all four pollen variations in their diet. If, in fact, they were not exposed to the pollen species in the study, I fail to see any possible scientific merit from such a study.

As the OP pointed out, it is akin to feeding an exclusive diet of seaweed to a baby himalayan mountain goat and being surprised that they did not develop.

Strange study indeed?!?

the Billmeister



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 02:07 PM
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That was a good sceptical review of the article and background check. There are plenty of reports linking pesticides to the demise of bees. The whole situation is like NIST not looking for explosives or James Hardy only looking for profits. Corporations have been busted too many times fixing reports to look good while sweeping the mess under the rug to fester. Monsanto is a really big company, without any integrity it is primed to make a really big mess.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 02:13 PM
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You did some work here! I suppose it was only a matter of time, since we usually end up blaming the victim these days, bees are certainly victims of our chemicals and genetic engineering, so now we can blame them for being anitplant
. If I hadn't read this I would not have believed it! Extraordinary

The worst thing about all this is how many will accept the results of this research as fact and not look any further.
Perhaps start more research from this erroneous theory.

Good find, F&S, must say this is not going to help me sleep at night.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 03:05 PM
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What I learned from bees in 1991:

1. Bees do not like to be 'scraped' back into the hive, no matter how much smoke you pump on them.
2. The chemical "attack" signal works very well, very quickly
3. When the attack mode is engaged, bees will attack what first catches their attention.
4. Flashlights in the dark catch bees attention very well.
5. You can't run in the dark and whack at bees at the same time without something bad happening.
6. A 50ft tall yellow pine tree will stop you in your tracks, no matter how fast you are running.
7. Bees are extremely non-sympathetic to the plight of anything they are currently attacking - whether it's fleeing, or lying on the ground in a semi-comatose stupor.
8. A dozen bee stings carry less shame than a goose-egg sized knot on your head that reeks of pine sap.
edit on 1-2-2011 by sykickvision because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 03:37 PM
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Originally posted by Billmeister
...... is that the so-called "generalist bee" populations were from different environments and did not necessarily include all four pollen variations in their diet. If, in fact, they were not exposed to the pollen species in the study, I fail to see any possible scientific merit from such a study.



As did I. Frankly, I am inclined to think that if this report of research is taken at face value, it seems quite possibly to fit an agenda external to the idea that nature works as effectively and efficiently as it could given the mix of variables and constants in a dynamic chaotic system.

While that may seem a wordy and circular conclusion, the net effect is to say that there must be a reason they reported the "bees are hostile to flowers" meme as such. If not scientific, then what's left? Public relations, investment fodder, misdirection?

I'd rather not have to be so suspicious,. except the establishment no longer serves the greater whole, so all that's left is that this published research is probably meant to serve a narrower purpose... like whomever funds the institute.... after all ... the BES executive committee presumably OK's the publication as "fit for purpose" and "promoting collaboration" and "financially sustainable." (Not to disregard the Institute's intention to avoid 'purely' scientific research that doesn't account for Agro-industrial concerns.)



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 03:49 PM
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Considering that so many plants by now have cross pollinated with Genetically Modified Monsanto product plants, how can they be 100% sure that these plants haven't been manipulated into "rejecting" bees by design?

Or perhaps the plants are quickly adapting to rejecting bees that have Monsanto chemicals in the pollen they carry around with them?

I don't know what the entire truth is, but I know that somewhere down there in the muck, Monsanto is behind this potential ecological disaster.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 09:52 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 
Sounds to me like the "bees need physical adaptations" thing is a preamble to Corporations trying to foist mutant bees on us to go with the mutant plants. I wonder if they'll manage to make them sterile so countries have to buy a new batch every year just to keep their ecology going at all?

Hey, I know that sounds like paranoia, but they already make crops that cant propagate themselves, so this would just be another step in the same direction.

Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Its certainly something to watch for developments.



posted on Feb, 1 2011 @ 11:18 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


You've got a huge flaw in your logic.

Specifically that you think bees have been the pollinators for eons.

1st off, all honey bees in America were brought here by Europeans. Not eons ago... Just a few hundred years ago.

Also, they are not the only pollinators in our eco system, wasps, butterflies etc are much better pollinators.... We have used honeybees, not to pollinate but to make honey....
edit on 1-2-2011 by HunkaHunka because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 08:14 AM
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reply to post by HunkaHunka
 


My point was not regional. Perhaps it would have been clearer if the research was done in North America instead of Europe.

But, in fact, bees have been 'bees' for a long long time. So I'm not sure how my statement regarding the bees actually represents a flaw, although I appreciate the input.


ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2006) — The discovery of a 100-million-year old bee embedded in amber -- perhaps the oldest bee ever found -- "pushes the bee fossil record back about 35 million years," according to Bryan Danforth, Cornell associate professor of entomology.





edit on 2-2-2011 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 10:48 AM
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reply to post by HunkaHunka
 


A year ago I observed that there were almost no european honey bees on the flowers in my yard. However I did observe at least a half a dozen smaller native american species.They were here again this year,but there were more european honey bees.So it doesn't take the european bees to do the pollinating.There are quite enough native species to do the job.Not to mention as you said the butterflys Etc.



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