Honey Bee Superorganism

It is always a rather complicated exercise to explain the workings of the honey bee colony and the different roles that honey bees play through the course of their lives and especially difficult to communicate the pure brilliance that these superorganisms are.  Richie Hertzberg scribes through the journey for National Geographic to capture it perfectly: “Every honeybee has a job to do. Some are nurses who take care of the brood; some are janitors who clean the hive; others are foragers who gather pollen to make honey. Collectively, honeybees are able to achieve an incredible level of sophistication, especially considering their brains are only the size of sesame seeds. But how are these jobs divvied up, and where do bees learn the skills to execute them? Unlike in Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie,” real honeybees don’t go to college and get a job assignment from an aptitude officer upon graduation. Instead, they rely on a mixture of genetics, hormones, and situational necessity to direct them. Honeybees are born into an occupation, and then their duties continually shift in response to changing conditions in the hive.“The jargon we use is that it’s ‘decentralized.’ There’s no bee in the center organizing this,” says Thomas Seeley, author of the book Honeybee Democracy. “Each bee has its own little set of rules, and the labor is sorted out by the bees following their rules.”    Click here to read the full article.

Translate »