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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hark to Your Bees

There is going to be a Project Bow Calendar for sale very soon. It may even look a little like this:

When it's available, I will post a link here, so you can get one for yourself and for any of your friends who may like chimpanzees. I am told they make great gifts for those hard-to-please people who already have everything else.

I feel a little foolish saying this, as it sounds quite a bit like a commercial. However, we must eat, and it would help.

 As Rudyard Kipling once wrote:

Bees, bees, hark to your bees, 
          Hide from your neighbors as much as you please,

          But all that has happened to us you must tell

          Or else we will give you no honey to sell.

Well, I am not a bee keeper, and Bow does not produce honey, or anything that most people would consider to be of value, so this is the best I can do.

 I did see a lot of bees buzzing about this afternoon on my walk. I do not, however, know whether these were eusocial or solitary bees.

Bees are popularly known as little collectivists, and the work ethic is said to be ingrained in their genes, but even they can end up being solitary and hiding from their neighbors, if their system becomes overloaded with non-contributors. I  wrote about all this a while back, here:

For those who think of the bee social hierarchy as static, it seems as if bees are a good role model for social cooperation. But the fact is that if you take into consideration the cyclical dynamics of evolving bee societies, it looks more like this:

It's not just about bees or humans. Towards the middle of my article, there is something about chimpanzees. Chimpanzees tend to work for themselves. They are social, and they do submit to more dominant individuals, but only just enough to get by. They never internalize anybody else's dominance, so on the inside they stay individuals. That's why chimpanzee hierarchies never turn into eusocial caste systems.

I admire Bow's individuality and would not want him to be any other way. But it's a lucky thing for me that he rather enjoys posing for pictures. That gives us something to sell.


  1. Aya, YAY! I can't wait to see your calendar! I'm so glad to hear you're pursuing that. I was wondering about that, as I hadn't heard you mention it in quite awhile!
    Thanks for introducing a new word to me..."eusocial". I had to go look it up! I've learned lately that a lot of our most successful, native bees are actually solitary bees. I find it interesting that our solitary bees are the ones that are surviving, while the colonial bees, such as honey bees are the ones that are dying off.

    1. Hi, Kathy. I hope you are not disappointed in the calendar.

      It's interesting to me to learn that the most successful native bees are solitary! I wonder if there is more resilience in the solitary life and whether eusocial bees are particularly vulnerable to toxins.

    2. I think, just as with humans, the more crowded a hive / whatever is, the more likely diseases & parasites can spread rapidly through the collective. If a solitary bee dies, chances are he/she didn't pass it on to many others. That's why I don't want to live in a big city.

    3. Yes, I suppose that's a big part of it. The other being that all the babies are so closely related, having a single mother. That's not a lot of genetic variation, in case of an error.

  2. Your calendar does not sound like a commercial to me, and anyone who has a problem with people promoting themselves needs to realize well all businesses do it, so get over it. People worry too much about how other people do things, and I am tired of the busy bodies.

    1. Thanks for your support, Julia. Promoting oneself and one's projects can be a daunting prospect.