Tristan writes, "The Open Source Beehives project is a partnership between the Open Tech Collaborative and Fab Lab Barcelona crowd-sourcing a solution to the bee colony collapse issue.
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Earlier today, I reviewed a new book by Kevin "Lowering the Bar" Underhill called "The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and Other Real Laws That Human Beings Have Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Sometimes Even Enforced." Kevin kindly provided us with an excerpt from the book, a series of weird-but-true German beekeeping laws:
My swarm of bees has
fled! What shall I do?
If you own a bunch of bees (known to bee experts as a “swarm”), and it flies away one day and ends up on somebody else’s property, who owns it?
It’s too bad they don’t teach bee law in school anymore, because this would be a great bar-exam question.
Turns out that the German Civil Code has a set of rules about bee ownership in this situation that seems to cover the gamut of possible outcomes. Most importantly, the first rule of fleeing-bee procedure is that you must pursue the bees immediately. Otherwise any claim to swarm ownership will be waived:
Loss of ownership of bee swarms:
Where a swarm of bees takes flight, it becomes ownerless if
the owner fails to pursue it without undue delay or if he gives up the pursuit.
Bees are not really considered “domesticated” in the full sense of the word, given that they have a habit of picking up and moving whenever they want to and there isn’t much you can do about it, unless you thought ahead and took the time to make a shitload of bee leashes. As is the general rule with captured wild animals, if they get away they are considered to revert back to the wild and to unowned status. As long as you’re still pursuing them, though, there is hope.
German Civil Code § 960–61.
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I though making a banana slice and some raisins into a face was something. Pancake artiste Nathan Shields recreated nine of nature's most wondrous butterflies in batter, producing a carby, gluteny batterfly museum that puts my cookery to shame.
A recently discovered G tridens fruitfly that has evolved a to have images of detailed, ant-like insects on each wing, complete with six legs, a thorax, antennae and a tapered abdomen. The fly uses the images defensively, waving them back and forth when threatened to create the illusion of massing ants. Many G Tridens varieties bear elaborate wing markings, but this one, discovered in Oman, is very striking. I think more beasties should have van-art bestowed on them by the strange world of evolution.
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This is Uraba lugens, a caterpillar that wears a bunch of its old heads on top of its current head like the world's most ridiculously macabre hat. The part of this photo where the otherwise horizontal caterpillar goes vertical? That's a pyramid of exoskeleton head capsules, stacked in descending order from smallest to largest.
The venerable Bug Girl has some better shots of this phenomenon at her blog, along with lots of great information explaining how the heck Uraba lugens ends up making this questionable fashion statement. She also offers this helpful advice:
If you do happen to see one of these, you should not touch it! Apparently these caterpillars are covered with highly itchy and irritating spines–which seems to make their chapeau of old heads a bit redundant.
Image: Uraba lugens, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from dhobern's photostream
Redditor Underdog106 found a huge beehive in his attic and called for a beekeeper to help him with it. Before the keeper arrived, the hive actually fell through the attic into his bathroom below -- the previous owners had used 1/4" sheetrock for the bathroom ceiling -- and split open. The accompanying photoset documents the sad and weird business of trying to save the colony and get it packed for shipping, amid a great ooze of honey and comb spread all over the bathroom.
Jerry the bee keeper was supposed to come today at 5pm. It was a very warm day in Columbia. The bee hive was heavy and the structure detached and fell through the ceiling. It turns out the old owners of the house used 1/4 inch sheet rock for the ceiling in the bathroom. Which is absurd and ridiculous. Jerry came as soon as he could, and he drove an entire hour to get here. The hive fell 3 hours before he was supposed to come today. What are the odds? Seriously. What are the F%^$KING ODDS. But all is well.
Most of the hive fell. As you can see. But we were still able to save around 12,000 out of the estimated 30,000 bee hive.
I have been noticing bees in my apartment for a few weeks now. Finally decided to check the attic. And yes. That is a full on colony. It was a huge adrenaline rush when I recognized what I was looking at. [UPDATE] And seriously, you will not believe this. (imgur.com)
The crab-louse is in apparent decline, a situation that some doctors and entomologists attribute to widespread Brazilian waxing. Though, as Skepchick points out, there's a huge industry that stands to make a lot of money from this claim, and not a lot of evidence to back it up:
“Pubic grooming has led to a severe depletion of crab louse populations,” said Ian F. Burgess, a medical entomologist with Insect Research & Development Ltd. in Cambridge, England. “Add to that other aspects of body hair depilation, and you can see an environmental disaster in the making for this species.”
...“We put the flag out, so to speak, if we see a case of pubic lice nowadays,” [Janet Wilson, a consultant in sexual health and HIV] said in an e-mailed response to questions. “The ‘habitat destruction’ of the pubic lice is increasing and they are becoming an endangered species.”
Brazilian Bikini Waxes Make Crab Lice Endangered Species [Jason Gale & Shannon Pettypiece/Bloomberg]
(Image: Crab Louse (Phthirus pubis), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from euthman's photostream)
You've doubtless heard about the parasite Apocephalus borealis, which infects bees and turns them into weird zombies. It's pretty awesomely awful stuff. The ZomBees project aims to track the spread of the parasite through citizen scientists like you, who will run the critters to ground and tell the project about them. ZomBees are implicated in the apocalyptic Colony Collapse Disorder, which threatens the world's food security.
We need your help finding out where honey bees are being parasitized by the Zombie Fly and how big a threat the fly is to honey bees. So far, the Zombie Fly has been found parasitizing honey bees in California and South Dakota. We are teaming up with citizen scientists (like you!) to determine if the fly has spread to honey bees across North America.
(via O'Reilly Radar)
Kathy Keatley Garvey has won the Association for Communication Excellence gold medal for her rare photo of a honeybee leaving behind its stinger in an unfortunate (but now immortalized) human. Ms Garvey comes from a line of California dairy farmers who have kept bees since the mid 19th century. She is a communications specialist at UC Davis in the Department of Entomology. Andrea Gallo reports in the Sacramento Bee:
Garvey recognized an opportune time to capture this photo when she was walking with a friend. A bee came close to him and started buzzing at a high pitch. She said that's normally a telltale sign that a bee is about to sting, so she readied her camera and snapped four photos.
The images showed the progression of the sting, but the most interesting part was that the bee's abdominal tissue lingered behind, she said.
"As far as I know, nobody's been able to record anything like this," Garvey said. She said the only time she's seen it illustrated was in a textbook.
UCD worker wins award for rare photo of bee sting in action
(Image: downsized thumbnail from a larger photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Russian photographer Andrey Pavlov builds miniature fantasy settings, designed to coax the ants he sets loose upon them to follow certain paths, bringing the scenes to life.
Step Gently Out is children’s picture book in which poet Helen Frost’s verse accompanies the incredible garden insect photographs of artist/photographer Rick Lieder.
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Stop-motion film about an entomologist's nightmare
MikeyP sez, "Filmmaker friends of mine have a lovely melancholy stop-motion film (about a tiny entymologist with a lightbulb for a head) they're hoping to get into the Australian short film festival Tropfest via the audience vote.If you have a second, and feel so inclined, pray click the link, scroll to the right to find 'Re-Collection',* and if you like the film, please vote for it. Even if you choose not to vote for my friends, Tropfest is worth checking out if you like short films. I think all of the finalists' films are viewable from the Tropfest YouTube channel. It's a good festival. * Or you can use the search box. Yes, Tropfest's system is a bit convoluted, and yes, it probably favours the first films in the list. But that's how it is."
TROPFEST's Channel - YouTube
I love the anatomical details on this sterling silver 3D printed scarab pendant, created by Shapeways user Dadrummond. It looks pretty damned cool in plastic, too.