First it was bees, now it’s bats. We may not think we’ll miss them, but without bats, there will be a much larger number of insects!
It turns out that thousands of bats are dying from a mysterious disease inside the caves where they hibernate during the winter.
In Yahoo News, Michael Hill quotes bat specialist Alan Hicks as saying, “We do not know what the cause is and we do not know how it was spread, either from cave to cave, or bat to bat.” A bat die-off could mean a bumper crop of mosquitoes?along with the diseases they bring with them.
There’s a new twist on the bee emergency going on all over the world right now: The US Dept. of Defense wants to use bees to detect terrorist weapons! And it?s been discovered that female bees choose their mates according to how well they can dance.
In New Scientist, Justin Mullins reports that Montana bee expert Jerry Bromenshenk has developed a device that listens to the sounds that bees make in their hives. This will not only alert farmers to parasite problems, it can also warn the military that dangerous toxins are in the air.
In LiveScience.com, Charles Q. Choi reports that honeybee queens have harems of males and choose the best dancers to have sex with. Choi writes that, “North American honeybee queens each have sex with an average of seven to 20 males, with the giant honeybee in Asia is known to demand up to 104 mates.” Better dancers are much better at getting food and bringing it back to the hive and the more males the queens mate with, the more genetically diverse their offspring will be and more chances they’ll have to produce better dancers. Choi quotes bee researcher Heather Mattila as saying, “What really surprised us was the extent of difference. In some colonies, you can see the less genetically diverse bees pretty much just standing still on the honeycombs on the videotape, while bees in the genetically diverse colonies are dancing or have left to go forage.”
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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