From The Beekeepers Club Newsletter, Doncaster, VIC. Who says you can’t teach an old bee new tricks?
One percent of all middle-aged bees become undertakers. A genetic brain pattern compels them to remove dead bees from the hive. But most amazingly, regular honeybees, which perform multiple jobs in their lifetime, will change their brain chemistry before taking up a new gig.
To reinforce their hives, bees use a resin from poplar and evergreen trees called propolis. It’s basically beehive glue. Although bees use it as caulk, humans use it to fight off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Research shows that propolis taken from a beehive may relieve cold sores, canker sores, herpes, sore throat, cavities, and even eczema.
THEY CAN SOLVE HAIRY MATHEMATICAL PROBLEMS. Pretend it’s the weekend, and it’s time to do errands. You have to visit six stores and they’re all at six separate locations. What’s the shortest distance you can travel while visiting all six? Mathematicians call this “traveling salesman problem,” and it can even stump some computers. But for bumblebees, it’s a snap. Researchers at Royal Holloway University in London found that bumblebees fly the shortest route possible between flowers. So far, they’re the only animals known to solve the problem.
THEIR BRAINS DEFY TIME: When ageing, bees do jobs usually reserved for younger members, their brain stops ageing. In fact, their brain ages in reverse. Imagine if riding a tricycle didn’t just make you feel young—it actually made your brain tick like a younger person’s.